When 24-year-old Danielle Ring started playing ball hockey 10 years ago, recruiters already had their eyes on her for Canada’s national team.
Now, she will finally have the chance to play at the international level for Team Canada in the World Ball Hockey Championships.
“I was super excited. Whenever you get the chance to represent your country in anything, it’s such an honour,” said Ring.
Ring is a fourth-year player for the St. Thomas University women’s hockey team and will now get to play alongside her best friend and former teammate Jessie McCann, who graduated from STU in 2016.
McCann and Ring played together on the New Brunswick national team in 2017, when McCann was team captain. The two have known each other for nine years and are like sisters.
“She’s my best friend. Our parents are best friends, my wife is [Danielle’s] best friend. We’re just like one big family,” McCann said. “Like the Ring-McCann’s. I call her mom, my mom and her [grandfather], my grandfather.”
McCann played at the World Ball Hockey Championships in 2015 and in the national championships in 2018 so she knew should had a good chance of making Team Canada again. But when McCann found out she would get to play at the world championships with her best friend, she was even more excited than in previous years.
“When I found out Danielle made it, I think I cried harder than I did when I found out I made it,” said McCann.
“It’s crazier for me this time around because this is my second time, but for [Danielle] it’s her first time and I get to experience that with her and I think it’s going to be a lot more special.”
Ring was pre-scouted to play for Team Canada when she was 14 years old, but she was too young at the time. The coaches continued to watch her play in tournaments and at Nationals and chose her for the team based on her performance.
“I knew I had a really good tournament at Nationals, so I was really excited. I knew I put all my effort in and I knew this was the year that I would hopefully make it,” said Ring.
Both Ring and McCann’s families were excited for them when it was announced they would get to play together.
“When both families found out we made it, it was a pretty dramatic celebration for everybody,” McCann said.
The two will head to Kosice, Slovakia in June 2019 to compete in the world championships.
Ring is excited and nervous to be representing her country.
“There are 22 girls on the team and you’re one of them and you’re representing your country,” Ring said.
“They could pick anyone across the country, and the fact that I’m going to be there, I’m kind of nervous and excited, but more excited than anything.”