The efforts of an Airdrie ringette coach have earned her recognition from Ringette Alberta.
Laurie Reeve, who coaches the Zone 2 U16 AA Blaze, was named Ringette Alberta’s coach of the year for the 2019-20 season. Reeve said she was shocked – but pleasantly surprised – when she learned she had received the honour.
“I had no idea I had even been nominated to be part of that, so I was excited to learn I would accept that award,” she said. “It’s the first time I have received it.”
According to a statment on Ringette Alberta's website, the organization “received numerous glowing letters of support of [Reeve’s] nomination from players and parents. She is calm, fair, supportive and respectful on and off the bench. [She] motivates and empowers all of them to be the best team possible.”
While the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic just before the national championships, Reeve said there were many positives from the 2019-20 campaign. The highlight, she said, was her Zone 2 team winning the U16 AA provincial championships in Spruce Grove in early March.
“We were provincial champs, so that was really exciting,” she said. “I have been with this association for a few years now, and the girls are really awesome. There were some ups and downs, but we were successful at the end. It’s a lot of fun to coach these girls.”
In addition to her role as the Blaze’s bench boss, Reeve also coached the Zone 2 (Big Country) team at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games, which Airdrie hosted in February.
Competing as the home team, Reeve’s squad – which included her daughters Abygale and Alexandra – skated to a third-place finish.
“Most of the girls I had worked with before at some point in my career of coaching,” she said. “We just went into it with the attitude of being the best we could be and trying our hardest.”
Reeve has coached ringette since 2012, and said she also played the sport as a kid from age seven to 18.
Her favourite part of coaching, she said, is getting to know the members of her team and helping them grow, both as players and human beings.
“My coaching philosophy is about making ringette fun, but at the same time, having an athlete-centred philosophy and helping them grow as young ladies,” she said. “It’s not just about the game, but also helping them with things like emotional and psychological aspects of the game – developing the whole person.”
Zone 2 AA, which formed in 2015, provides AA-calibre teams for local players in U14, U16 and U19. The teams are comprised of elite-level players from Airdrie, Cochrane, Strathmore and the surrounding communities, who try out for the select squads after excelling within their local associations.
Despite being a relatively new association, Zone 2 AA has made its mark in the Alberta ringette scene, with a gold medal at the 2019 Western Canadian Ringette Championships in U14, and appearances at national championships.
“We were such a new program at the start, just trying to figure out what it was all about,” Reeve said. “But our association looks at the whole piece of the puzzle, and ringette being [about more than just] ice time. We do off-ice, dryland training and we do psychological mental training, as well as practices and games. We look at it as a whole program.”