Saturday's National Ringette League game in Brookswood will be remembered as much for what happened in the stands as what took place on the ice.
Forty-five players from across the Fraser Valley joined more than 150 kids (and some parents) for a flash mob dance during the game between the Edmonton WAM! and B.C. Thunder at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
The dance was choreographed by 12-year-old Richmond ringette player Tayah Takasaki, with the hopes of attracting new players to the sport.
The players ranging in age from nine to 17 came from teams in North and West Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Ridge Meadows, Surrey, Richmond, Delta, and the Fraser Valley.
"We came together in a united effort to showcase our love for the sport of ringette," said Sharon Smit, a coach and referee in the Fraser Valley and the main organizer of Saturday's event. "It was such a moving experience, to see all these kids who normally play against each other come together in such a united and fun way."
The players had secretly been working hard to learn the 90-second dance routine that included them all holding ringette rings, set to two songs: Gangnam Style by PSY and Beyonce's Put a Ring on It.
The flash mob was performed as a surprise to the crowd - and even to the players on the ice - between the first and second periods of the game.
At the end of the routine, participants turned around to reveal "Play It!" on the back of their bright lime green shirts.
"It was incredible, we were so surprised," said Lower Mainland Ringette League Thunder player Mel Thomas, who has played ringette for 21 years. "They showed so much energy and passion for the sport of ringette. It really was inspiring to see them support us and our sport like that. It shows the great future that ringette has in British Columbia."
Keely Brown from the WAM!, a ringette veteran of 30 years, said putting the flash mob in social media is a good way to market the sport.
"The key is to get people to come and watch their first ringette game at our level... to see our speed and how amazing a sport it is," Brown said.
"That's how we'll get more players to our sport. Ringette is still growing. It's such a great team sport."
"We were excited at this opportunity to try to make what is a lesser-known sport more known," said Jeaneen Briner of the Fraser Valley Ringette Association. "Our plan is to immediately edit the video footage. and post it in social media with the hopes that everyone in ringette will share it so that it becomes viral. We think social media is the new way to introduce new players to our sport."
Girls and boys who play ringette often do so for many years. They can start as early as age four and continue right through to the national level in their 20s and 30s.
There are also many open recreational teams for adults in communities across Canada.
Flash mobs are popular, seemingly spontaneous events, which are coordinated through social media. Often, they involve large groups of people meeting in public to take part in a random event, like a coordinated dance or song.
@ Copyright 2013