Hanover resident Abby Hahn helped Team Ontario’s ringette squad bring home silver from the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“Competing at the Canada Winter Games was such an amazing experience,” said the 18-year-old defenceman. “I am so grateful I had the opportunity to attend the Games and even though Team Ontario did not get the outcome we hoped for, I am proud and will be forever proud for winning the silver medal.”
The Canada Winter Games is a national competition held every four years and features 22 sports. The event hosts the country’s next generation of Olympic and professional athletes, and this year it was held in Red Deer, Alberta from Feb. 15 to March 2.
Team Ontario’s record was 4-0 in round robin play as they defeated Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
In the quarter-finals Ontario was victorious against hometown favourite Team Alberta 8-6 to move on to the semi-finals against BC. Ontario dominated the play against BC in an 8-1 final to advance to the gold-medal game against Quebec.
The gold-medal game had more than 1,200 people in attendance and a great number of fans watched online. The game went into an overtime period where Quebec defeated Ontario 4-3. The game was exciting, intense and worthy of a Canada Winter Games final.
Despite falling just short of the ultimate goal of a gold medal, Hahn said she is proud to bring home silver from an amazing competition.
“My absolute favourite part was playing and competing against the best athletes in Canada and making 18 new friends and one new family,” she said. “Also, I enjoyed cheering on the other sports, such as wheelchair basketball and hockey.”
Hahn, who is a student in her fifth year at Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton, has been playing ringette since the age of five. She started playing with Hanover Minor Ringette in bunny, now called U-7. When she turned 10 years old she tried out for a provincial team and continued playing with the Elora Fergus Ringette Association.
Two years ago Hahn started playing for the Guelph Ringette Association where she won her first provincial championship. Her team then represented the province as Team Ontario travelling to Le Duc, Alberta for a national event.
Last year her team, the Guelph U-19AA Predators coached by local resident Dave Eccles, won the provincial championship again and represented the province at a national event in Winnipeg.
In 2018 Hahn also played for a AAA ringette team called Western Region and received a silver medal at the Ontario Winter Games held in Orillia. They were defeated in overtime against the Eastern AAA team.
From this event, players from the six AAA teams made up of players from across Ontario were invited to tryouts and weekend camps that took place in April and May of 2018 and Hahn was one of the 18 girls chosen to represent Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“After my AAA ringette season, getting the email inviting me to come tryout for the Team Ontario ringette team was an honour itself,” Hahn said. “After the last tryout camp I was sitting in the dressing room with the coaches, the final meeting that would determine whether I made the team or not. The coaches told me congratulations, you made it and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.”
To prepare for the Games, the team participated in three Challenge Cup events, which were held in October in Winnipeg, December in Pickering and January in Montreal.
Hahn said for the six months she had to prepare leading up to the Games she focused most of her time to ringette, attending the gym every day, eating healthier, playing with her club team, being cautious about going out and making herself the best ringette player possible since she would be competing against the best of the best.
The experience for Hahn is a once in a lifetime opportunity as a new set of players will be picked for the next Canada Winter Games held four years from now.
She said she will always remember the incredible atmosphere, positive energy and being witness to so much talent in one place.
“I never thought I could make the team and when I did it was a dream come true,” Hahn said. “Four years ago watching the gold-medal ringette game from the previous Canada Games in Prince George I never would have thought that could be me.”
Hahn thanks her family for their dedication to her sport, especially for driving at least an hour for every practice and game for the past nine years.
“They believe in me, encourage me and are proud of me no matter the outcome,” she said.
More information about the Canada Winter Games can be found at canadagames.ca.