April 15, 2008 – The National Ringette League (NRL) today announced that two franchises have been granted entry into the National Ringette League to begin play in October 2008. Teams from Whitby, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec will be part of the NRL’s Eastern Conference and an expansion draft will be scheduled to take place prior to May 31, 2008.
“We are very pleased to have these two new teams as part of our league,” said Chris Wakefield, NRL Eastern Conference Commissioner. “Both clubs put forward strong proposals that outline a commitment to the goals and objectives of the NRL, with an emphasis on promoting ringette and helping to grow our brand.”
Whitby’s franchise has been awarded to Ed Stepniak with support from the Whitby Ringette Association. The Durham region is one of largest elite ringette regions in the country and is home to many current NRL players and consistently has some of the strongest younger teams in the country. With an excellent support staff and support from many local associations, a strong franchise in this region is an integral part to further growth and development of the league. Adding a fourth team in Southern Ontario will allow for expenses to be reduced among the teams in the region and allow for more games for visiting teams, similar to the current situation in the Montreal Region.
Gatineau’s franchise has been awarded to Yvon Brault and the Association de Ringuette Gatineau. The nation’s capital region has always been known as one of the strongest elite ringette regions in Canada. The addition of Gatineau to a newly defined Capital Region in the NRL will certainly help to increase the profile of our league on the Quebec side of the border, while providing a third team for the many players from Ottawa and Western Quebec to play on. Ottawa, Gloucester and Gatineau will all draft from the same region – a region that will be finalized before the July regional drafts.