Life as an Official has Strengthened Bond Between Crystal Blakley and Ringette, News (Oshawa Ringette)

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Life as an Official has Strengthened Bond Between Crystal Blakley and Ringette
Submitted By Darryl Mathers on Friday, August 31, 2018
Crystal Blakley can’t imagine her life without ringette. She fell in love with the sport as a 10-year-old playing out of a small association within the City of Kawartha Lakes.

“I didn’t know how to skate and went out to my first practices in sweat pants, a helmet and a cut off hockey stick,” Blakley recalls.

She soon found appropriate gear and played through to high school before taking time to concentrate on her education. She returned to game as a coach after completing university. It wasn’t long after her return to the game that Blakley decided to become a ringette referee.

“I had heard about a referee clinic that was being offered and I thought I could understand the rules and application of the game better in my coaching role,” she says. “After the taking the clinic I thought I would give it a shot and I loved it.”

Blakley says the ringette officiating community is both encouraging and supportive.  

“It’s been incredibly rewarding,” says Blakley who continues to officiate while also serving as Referee-in-Chief for the Oshawa Storm Ringette Association (OSRA). “I have met some amazing people who I am proud to call friends and have developed more of a passion for the sport than ever before.”

She also has a passion for developing new referees. Playing experience is not essential to becoming a referee, she says. Blakley notes the supportive ringette community assists greatly in the development of officials. What potential referees do require is determination, dedication and a passion for the sport.

“You are well supported when you enroll to be an official,” she says. “It’s a perfect outlet with an amazing community of people and a great way to stay active.”

As a mother of two young boys with a challenging career, Blakley juggles the demands of life with her passion for ringette. It’s a balance she plans to continue striking for the foreseeable future.

“I can’t really see myself without the sport in my life,” she says. “I hope to continue, in some capacity, for years to come.”

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