In the early 1970’s the game of Ringette moved its way into Alberta (specifically Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Lacombe, Leduc, Edmonton). Ringette didn’t filter to Calgary through our northern neighbours, rather it seems to have been introduced through 3 separate individuals who organized Calgary’s first ringette teams in 1977
- Don Henderson attended a business conference in Montreal and while there stumbled upon someone who was involved in Ringette. Don decided he would get more information and start up a team with his 13 year old daughter and some of her friends. Don acquired a rulebook, and in the fall of 1977 organized and coached a team in Thorncliffe.
- Frances Willis also heard about ringette and sent away to Ringette Canada for a rulebook. She organized and coached a team in University Heights which included her daughter and friends.
- Bud Cadman moved west to Calgary and found that there was no ringette in their new community of Lake Bonavista. He told his neighbour (Shawn Curran) about this great game that his daughter had played and convinced him to help form a team.
There is no record that these three teams played each other in their first season – from research it appears as though they didn’t know each other existed.
These were three teams in the city the first year:
- Thorncliffe - Coach, Don Henderson
- University Heights/Triwood - Coach, Frances Willis
- Lake Bonavista - Coach, Shawn Curran
Submitted by Nelson Ball:
Just a note on the beginnings of Ringette in Calgary.
The first Ringette Clinic in Calgary was conducted by the late Fred Rusnak and myself in a rink in NE Calgary in November of 1977. We were invited down from Sherwood Park by Frances Willis. Sport Alberta paid our way down and we put on a clinic for as I recall about 20 girls plus assorted adults including possibly those mentioned in your story.
At the time I was on both the Ringette Canada and Ringette Alberta Executive, and Fred Rusnak, Howard Hesjedal and I, were conducting clinics in various communities across Alberta.
I now live in New Brunswick and have not been involved with Ringette for some time, however I thought that you might wish to give volunteers from Sherwood Park some credit for helping get Ringette started in Calgary.