A world class ring ding

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

The world ringette championships are returning to their birthplace next year.

It was a thrilled City of Ottawa Ringette Association that learned yesterday it will soon play host to the world. The eighth edition of the global event -- the first was held in Gloucester in 1990 -- is set for November 2007 in the capital.

"We're very excited," said Rick Brooks, co-chair of the Ottawa bid committee, which got the good news yesterday morning.

Brooks, Allan Bateman and Linda Lugg had waited anxiously for three weeks after making their bid presentation in Montreal. London, North Bay and Kelowna, B.C., were also hoping to land the '07 worlds.

But instead, it'll be coming to Ottawa, a noted ringette hotbed in this country. More than 2,500 girls play the sport here.

"It was a difficult decision," Ringette Canada president Joanne Dearden admitted in a release.

"We are confident that Ottawa has the experience, capability and plan in place to deliver an outstanding event."

CIVIC CENTRE FOR FINAL

That's certainly what Brooks and Co. have in mind. They've already secured the Civic Centre for the semi-finals and final, but will likely use a smaller venue -- perhaps the Bell Sensplex -- for round-robin play. Exact dates for the event aren't set yet.

The last time the ringette worlds were in Canada -- in Edmonton in 2002 -- a crowd of 5,000 turned out for the final.

Ottawa is aiming to top that.

"I'd like to fill the Civic Centre (for the championship game)," said Brooks.

Canada and Finland have been the dominant countries at the worlds, winning every title. The Finns are the reigning world champs, while Canada won on home ice in Edmonton four years ago.

Sweden, the U.S. and possibly ringette upstart France are expected to field entries for the 2007 worlds.

While the Ottawa association officially won the bid, Brooks expects the volunteer base of about 100 to also include participation from the neighbouring Nepean and Gloucester-Cumberland associations.

"We had the AA provincials here in March 2005," said Brooks. "It went off great, we made money, there were no glitches ... we expect to have the same group of volunteers."

FAMILY AFFAIR

He also believes it's a great opportunity to sell the sport. In watching his three daughters -- Gillian, 21; Emma, 19, and Hayley, 17 -- all play ringette, he's gained a great appreciation for it all.

"The idea (with the worlds) is to not only to run a great event, but to raise the profile of the sport," he said. "I don't know anybody in ringette who's not happy with it.

"It's a wonderful sport."


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