News North Bay site for Provincial Ringette Championships next month SHARE ON: Rocco Frangione, staff Tuesday, Feb. 12th, 2019 North Bay is once again hosting the Provincial Ringette Championship. Kelly Van Buskirk, the President of the West Ferris Ringette Association, says about 70 teams are expected for the March 14th to 17th event. The players range in age from 12 to 20 and will play in several divisions. Van Buskirk says with 1,000 athletes taking part, games are taking place at the West Ferris and Pete Palangio arenas as well as rinks in Astorville, Powassan, Trout Creek, South River and Sundridge. The four-day event features 200 round-robin games and the top teams in each division goes onto the finals. Van Buskirk says the championship will generate about $1.5 million in economic activity for the city. “This will be the second biggest event since the (women’s) curling for the city this year,” Van Buskirk said. Van Buskirk says all the hotels are booked during the March Break for ringette and in addition to the athletes, their parents and some siblings will also be in the city bringing the total number of visitors to about 3,000. Van Buskirk says North Bay last hosted a provincial championship in 2012 and last won a provincial championship in 1999. She’s hoping this is the year North Bay can win one of the championships up for grabs adding that twice in the last three years a North Bay team has finished second at the provincials. The Under 19 team did that last year and three years ago the Under 16 squad finished second. Van Buskirk says considering North Bay doesn’t play in a loop the way the southern teams do and play many games in surrounding communities, the North Bay teams have done really well over the years. The community has a house league where much of the action takes place and she says the next closest competitive city is Timmins. Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and teams from the Ottawa area will join the Southern Ontario teams at the event. Van Buskirk says the energy for the event will be phenomenal. She also hopes that once many of the southern teams make the trip to North Bay, the Southern Ontario teams will be more receptive to games in the north. “The Southern Ontario teams think it’s too far,” she said. “They don’t realize it’s just a quick trip up the highway. We go south all the time. Hopefully, this will change their view of the north and of North Bay and we’ll have more of them coming up here a little bit more.” Van Buskirk says there is no charge for the public to see the games.