Riverside alumni Bayley Bird and Sarah Knight played in three national ringette games over the weekend and around the lower mainland, where the NRL Thunder lost to Edmonton WAM by one goal each game.
These games are just the beginning of a tough season for the Thunder team. “There’s always room for improvement,” said Bird. They play nationally ranked teams all around the country in groups of three or four. In past years at nationals, the girls have won medals and plan to do so again this season at London, Ontario where they are being held in April.
Knight and Bird have been playing since a very young age. Knight had been playing for 12 years and Bird has been playing for 14. “It’s given me a lot of determination,” said Knight. Bird’s number on her jersey is 17 and she plays forward. Knight plays defense and has the number 12 on her jersey.
This is the first year Bird and Knight have been old enough to play on the NRL Thunder team, but they have participated as alternate players before with Thunder. They also played on double a ringette teams as they grew up.
Bird and Knight said that they miss the social part of school and still keep in touch with their high school friends who have mostly moved away, but they’ve made friends through ringette that made the team alongside them. There are 18 players on the team with one affiliate.
The girls graduated last year and are fully committed to ringette and their jobs, giving them a chance to play at the national level. “I made a lot of friends, and I get to travel a lot across Canada,” said Knight. The team travels to places, such as Edmonton, Fredericton, and Toronto to compete with the country’s best ringette players.
Photos courtesy of Tracy Bird and Sarah Knight.