How the Game is Played
Ringette has the same equipment as hockey. There are a few differences such as the triangles on the cage of the helmet, a straight stick, and a ring is used instead of a puck.
The sport is played on-ice; there are “ringette” or “free-play lines” at the top of the circles around the face-off dots. Ringette also has an extended goal crease in which only the goalie or acting goal keeper (AGK) are allowed to be in. Only three players of the five are allowed in each end zone from each team not counting the goalies.
Ringette requires the players to pass the ring across the blue lines in order to move from zone to zone. At the U12 level and up there is a 30 second shot clock used like one that is used in basketball.
With being required to pass the ring across the blue lines it makes it more of a team game because players cannot pull a Bobby Orr. Having a shot clock the sport can really be the fastest game on ice with only having 30 seconds once the players get control of the ring.
The game starts out with the guest team having a free pass from the centre zone circle where a hockey face-off would take place. Once the referee blows the whistle to start the game the girl taking the free pass has five seconds to pass the ring out of the circle to one of her teammates; if the pass is not made within those five seconds the ring is rewarded to the other team.
Free passes in ringette are used to start the game, start the game again after a penalty is called. There can be many situations that call for a free pass to be rewarded. When the play is stopped along the boards it is usually a free pass that starts the game again. After almost all stoppages in play a free pass usually starts the game up again. The one exception for a free pass to not start the game up again is when the ring is awarded as a goalie ring. A goalie ring is called when someone from the opposing team enters the crease and touches the ring before the five-second violation count is finished, or when the ring is awarded to the team defending in the zone the play is stopped in.
Playing with a shot clock there are specific rules for how the shot clock can be reset. When a shot is made on the net the shot clock is reset when the ring contacts a goal post or the cross bar, the ring contacts the goalie or AGK within the crease, and if the ring contacts the goalie outside of the crease and that contact prevents the ring from entering the net. When the referee signals a delayed penalty the shot clock is reset.