More than 1,200 ringette players ranging from five-year-olds to elite, over-18 players filled Central Okanagan ice rinks from Winfield to West Kelowna on the weekend as the 24th annual Kelowna Sweetheart Ringette Tournament took place all weekend long.
Twelve teams from Kelowna, several more from West Kelowna and Winfield, 67 from all over B.C. and 11 from Alberta took part in the annual event which featured everything from beginner players to an exhibition game between the National Ringette League alumni and the 2015 Canada Winter Games prospects in what was another resounding success for the Kelowna Ringette Association.
“I think this was the best tournament we have had from an organizational standpoint,” said Melissa Elsom, tournament director. “We had quite a few comments from people to our volunteers that this is the best-run tournament that they attend all season.”
With a theme centred around the spirit of sweetheart, arenas were decorated with hearts and vendors sold heart shaped products like necklaces.
The highlight came Saturday night when 1,000 people poured into Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna for the opening ceremonies, a dazzling display that saw athletes march in to the rink in their jerseys.
Hundreds of volunteers helped make the event a success on the weekend and organizers were resting Monday after another great weekend of ringette.