As far as popularity goes, ringette has never gotten the same attention as its cousin hockey, and that’s something the sport’s avid players are hoping to change.

“Passing plays are very difficult in ringette, because you have to spear the ring and pass it all in one motion,” said Dave Mallais, a coach in the Lac St. Louis Ringette League. “It’s very difficult.”

Mallais’ wife Cathy Brisson is a fellow coach in the league. She praised ringette as a sport that demands teamwork and communication.

“As a player, you can’t go from one end of the ice to the other end without passing to somebody else over the blue line,” she said. “So it’s a game of teamwork and passing.”

The league championships are being held over the weekend of March 19 and 20 and over Easter, close to 100 teams from across Quebec will descend on the West Island for the provincial finals.

“We got a lot of tired officials and a lot of tired girls and some will be smiling and some will be crying at the end of this weekend,” said Lac St. Louis Ringette Association Presdient Bob Longpre.

Ringette was invented in northern Ontario in 1963 as an answer to the lack of winter sports for girls. Today, an estimated 30,000 Canadians play the sport, most of whom are female and its popularity is spreading worldwide.

“United States, Canada, Russia, Finland and there’s now an international championship every year,” said coach Jeff Tabacman.