Two Chestermere high school students on the U19AA Calgary Rush Ringette team, Marla Wheeler and Madison Istace traveled to P.E.I., where they won bronze during Ringette Nationals.
To prepare for playing multiple games a day, Istace trained on the ice four to five times a week, along with gym sessions where she worked on cardio.
“There was a lot of training, physically and mentally, getting my body ready through eating healthy and making sure I was fit enough,” Istace said.
“It was getting myself and my cardio good, so I could make it through nationals, going to the gym, running, and getting my body in shape for games,” she added.
To prepare mentally, Istace had a game mindset, where she would visualize the game and how she was going to play.
During Ringette Nationals, the U19AA Calgary Rush team had beat their sister team, who had defeated them and previously won provincials.
“We ended up beating them in the semis which moved us forward to play Ontario to see if we went to the gold medal round or the bronze,” Istace said.
Having the opportunity to play in the Ringette Nationals was an amazing feeling for Istace.
“I have been on teams that weren’t very successful, and this year we had very good coaching. It was a great season, and it felt amazing to accomplish something that we worked so hard for,” Istace said.
“My team pushed themselves so hard. We played well together the whole time. It was such a good time for our team,” she added.
A moment that stands out for Istace was blocking a shot from the other team after they had lured her goalie to the other side of the crease.
“I had to rush across the crease and stop her goal by diving in front of the ring,” she said.
Istace has played in the Ringette Nationals before, however, this time she wanted to have fun and to compete to the best of her ability.
“The last time I went we weren’t very successful, this time I wanted to be very competitive,” she said.
Although Istace is proud of how she played during Ringette Nationals, finding the time to train and practice while finishing high school was not easy.
“I was constantly having to do my homework, trying to plan around practices. It was very hard to time manage,” she said.
Despite having to overcome scheduling difficulties, ringette is a way that Istace can escape from hectic school life and be with her friends.
“It’s nice to have that place to go when I need to escape mentally and be with my friends. It’s a friendship that goes beyond, knowing you have each other’s backs in the dressing room and on the ice,” Istace said.
“I’ve played multiple sports before I found ringette. When I found ringette, it clicked. It’s different, and it’s a lot of fun,” she added. “I want to encourage more girls to go out and try it. It’s an amazing sport.”