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Famous People in Ringette

Sam Jacks

Ringette was invented in 1963 by a Canadian man named Sam Jacks, in North Bay, Ontario.

Mr. Jacks was born in Scotland on April 23, 1915, and emigrated to Canada with his family in 1920.

In 1948 Mr. Jacks became The City of North Bay’s director of Parks and Recreation, a small town located on the Canadian Shield and situated between Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake.  He challenged himself to find ways to encourage local children to use the numerous outdoor skating rinks, and began experimenting with a variation of hockey for girls. After two years of development, he developed a set of rules and Ringette was born in 1963.

Since 1980, the winner of the ringette world champions has been called the Sam Jacks Trophy.

Mr. Jacks died in 1975 and his wife, Agnes, continued to promote the game globally until her death in 2005. Agnes Jacks was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada on October 26, 2002.

Mr. Jacks is also credited with inventing the game of Floor Hockey while working with the YMCA in Toronto. He wrote its first set of rules in 1936, an achievement recognized by the United Nations.  He was posthumously inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Red McCarthy

If Sam Jacks invented ringette then one can say that Red McCarthy of Espanola, Ontario, refined it. McCarthy tested the game with high school girls at the behest of the Northern Ontario Recreation Directors’ Association.

In addition to altering the rules, Mr. McCarthy made adjustments to the ring’s composition and implemented changes to the colour of a players stick if she was offensive or defensive.

He organized the first Ringette game ever in Espanola in 1963-64, consisting of girls from a local high school hockey team.