By Tim Kalinowski
For 15-year old Erica Brost the upcoming Alberta Winter Games are definitely not her first rodeo. Two years ago the Irvine-based athlete was also part of the Zone 1 ringette team which competed at the Games in Banff. She was 13 then, the youngest on the team; this time around she is one of the captains.
“Last time that I went I was the youngest on the team,” remembers Brost. “It was just all a little scary and new, but now I know what to expect. I felt really good to be chosen to play on the team again this time. I feel really proud I will to be one of the captains.”
Brost loves everything about playing ringette, and she loves setting a good example for other girls wanting to play.
“When younger girls come to watch I always try to be the person where they say: I want to be that girl because she tries really hard,” says Brost. “I just try to keep the whole team altogether and working well together. I am usually the loud one on the bench you can usually hear cheering my team on.”
Brost is no stranger to crowds and heavy competition. She is champion junior barrel rider in her other sporting incarnation as a rodeo competitor. She says some skills like good hand/ eye coordination, good fitness and the ability to focus on what’s in front of her transfer well from rodeo to ringette.
“Talking to a few hockey players I know, they still don’t get how you have to stab at the ring and then skate away with it,” says Brost with a laugh. “If you don’t spear it properly it will go right by you, and then you have to stop and go get it. There’s a lot of skill with it.”
Since body contact in ringette is discouraged and you can’t pass over the blue line, ringette, says Brost, relies more on strategy than hockey does.
“A think it takes a lot more mental skill and strategy,” states Brost confidently. “I am almost tempted to try hockey sometimes, but with my ringette I’ve been able to play with the same girls over the nine years that I’ve played. So you just sort of connect with them all, and I like being close to the same people.”
Brost says she hopes to encourage her Zone 1 teammates during the Winter Games the same way she motivates here friends on her regular team. She is also looking forward to having home ice advantage.
“Being the host team, we want to got out there and represent our zone the best we can. That’s what we plan to do. It’s puts on a little more pressure for sure. We’ll just play our best and do what we can… With this kind of game it is not all about your skills, it’s about who has the heart and the try to be out there.”