A long time ringette volunteer

One of Calgary’s own long time ringette members

By: Elizabeth Merritt

One-of-a-kind in a sports association Marlayne Brandsgard is a key part to the Ringette Calgary community with her knowledge and love of the sport.

Ringette is a sport invented in North Bay Ontario in 1963 by Sam Jacks and is played by girls mostly and it’s a combination for floor hockey and lacrosse. It’s played on ice just like hockey, has the same equipment, and some of the same rules.

In ringette you have to pass the ring across the blue line, you cannot enter the goalie’s crease, and only three players from each team not including goalie’s are allowed in the end zone of the rink.

Instead of using a stick with a blade and a puck ringette uses a straight stick and a rubber ring. There are no off sides in ringette so a team can have one of the players as the “cherry picker” down by the other teams end of the rink.

She has been involved in ringette for over 40 years and has become very knowledgeable about the sport.

“It would be odd to have it out of my life. You meet so many people every season you make friendships for life and it’s such a close-knit community,” said Brandsgard.

She has played for many years, has coached, and Ringette Calgary hired her part time 22 years ago because of how much she already knew about the sport.

“Marlayne has been a key part of Ringette for almost 40 years. She played in Thorncliffe, one of the first communities to have ringette in Calgary,” said Beth Veale, who has known Brandsgard since 1981.

She has been on numerous comminutes for tournaments, championships, she is on different ringette boards.

Whenever people have questions they normally call her or are told to call her and if she doesn’t know the answer she will find someone who does know the answer.

“She is always a valued member and is eager and hardworking,” said Laura Webb, who has known Brandsgard since 1980.

Brandsgard’s day starts off with opening up the Ringette Calgary office and checking for emails and voicemails left after she closed the office the day before. After that is done and she has gotten back to those who left messages, she follows up on things from Ringette Alberta, coaching clinics to make sure coaches are properly certified.

A lot of the AA ringette stuff is at the Ringette Calgary office so she gets people coming in to get that stuff. As well people go into the Ringette Calgary office just to stop by to see Brandsgard, because after being involved for so long there are so many friendships made and you can’t catch up with them when you’re out a tournament with how crazy some can be.

Now that the Esso Golden Ring tournament is in January certain things get sent to her for the tournament so it can then be easier transferred to the control centre for the tournament the week before.

“I think her involvement in ringette is great and very important to the ringette community. She keeps Ringette Calgary organized and is always willing to take on anything sent her way and does it all with a smile,” said Steve Elliott, who has known Brandsgard since 2011.

I’m still involved because of the love of the sport, the excitement, how it feels when you see things come together- successful tournaments, and everyone has a good time, said Brandsgard.

“As administrative assistant for Ringette Calgary Marlayne is invaluable, she is the glue that holds the Calgary Ringette program together.

“She has flawless work ethic, exceptional knowledge, and a special ability to deal with volunteers in a productive and positive manner.  So yes, I would say that she is not only a key part but perhaps is the key,” said Webb.

Brandsgard gets a lot of questions every day because just about everyone knows that she will either know the answer and knows who does know the answer so she gets quite a few of the same questions every week.

“Marlayne has been the face of ringette in the Ringette Calgary office for years. I truly believe that the growth of Ringette Calgary is largely due to her involvement. Any ringette person I have ever talked to who has needed information has had nothing but positives to say about Marlayne.

“She is a friendly voice resourceful, organized, and bends over backward to help you out. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find someone who does. It is because of her that people feel that ringette is a sport you want to be involved with,” said Veale.

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