QUICK RINGETTE RULES
Although Ringette appears very similar to hockey, it is much more closely in tune with basketball, soccer, or even lacrosse without cross checking. Teams are usually made up of 11 to 17 players on a team. They play six skaters on the ice at the same time while at full strength. (a goalie, two defense, a center and two forwards) The object of the game is score a goal by shooting the ring into the opposing team's net. And of course, trying hard at the same time to prevent the other team from scoring in their own goal.
The Game begins much like soccer with the Visiting team being awarded a Free Pass in the Centre Ice Free Pass Circle. (Known in Hockey or Lacrosse as Face Off Circles). Free Passes are also ringette's way of restarting games after penalties, violations, goals or any other stoppage of the game such as when two players from opposite teams have joint control of the ring and it becomes frozen or immovable.
Free Passes in ringette are like free kicks or throw ins in soccer, like throw ins in basketball or like the quick restart in lacrosse after a violation. The ring is placed in the Free Pass circle, in the side nearest their own goal. There is a small red dot painted on the ice for ring placement on a Free Pass. One player takes possession and on the whistle has five seconds to either shoot or pass to a teammate; They must pass it completely out of the circle; they cannot skate out of the circle with the ring. During this five seconds no other player is allowed in the Free Pass circle. A shot on goal is permitted during a Free Pass.
Blue Line Violation: A player cannot carry the ring over a Blue Line in either direction. The ring must be passed over the blue line to another teammate. That teammate is permitted to skate ahead of the ring carrier and already be across the Blue Line before the ring crosses it. This is quite different than hockey where the puck must cross the Blue Line before any offensive player does. The requirement to pass the ring over the blue line, eliminates the situation where one player can carry the ring from one end to the other. It also is one of the keys to ringette being such a team Game.
Goal Crease: If the ring lands in or on the crease the only player who can touch it is the goalie. The goalie usually picks up the ring and throws it like a frisbee to a teammate. The Goalie may not throw the ring beyond the Blue Line. If the Goalie does, then the offensive team regains possession on a Free Pass back inside the Goalie's deep defensive zone. The goalie has five seconds to pass it out of her crease. She may also choose to hit it with her stick or skate, instead of picking it up and throwing it.
Neither team is allowed to enter the goal crease, not even by just their stick itself. If the team with the ring enters the crease then they lose possession. If the defensive team loses the ring then the offensive team gains the ring on a Free Pass in the attacking zone. If the offensive team loses the ring, Play is restarted with a Goalie Ring.
A Goalie Ring replaces a defensive zone Free Pass on all violations by the offensive team inside their offensive zone. On a Goalie Ring the goalie is given five seconds to throw the ring towards a teammate after the referee blows the whistle to signify restarting of play. The main difference between the Goalie Ring and a normal Free Pass is speed of restarting the game as play is not held up for player subsitution. This adds much to the speed and excitement of the game.
Two Blue Line Pass: There is no icing in Ringette, but there is a two line Pass, called slightly different than in hockey. The feet have nothing to do with it and there is no Center Ice Red Line in Ringette. When the ring crosses both blue lines, untouched, no player from the team that put it there can touch the ring till one of their opponents does first. For example, on an offensive two line pass, no member of the offensive team can touch it before the defense gets control of the ring. Touching it prematurely is a violation that sends the ring all the way back to the zone it originally was in for a Free Pass by the non offending team.
Penalties, similar to hockey, are called for various infractions. Most penalties in Ringette are very unintentional are are the result of accidently running into someone when trying to stop skating too late attempting to get a loose ring first; or when checking the ring carrier and missing the check on an opponent's stick. Rough Intentional Body Contact of any type is not allowed and the penalty for that is much more severe. However like basketball and soccer, bodies sometimes accidentally collide. That's why the equipment rules, for protection.
Violations, similar to basketball, are also called for various infractions, such as skating over the blue line in possession of the ring or unintentionally shooting or holding the ring out of play, or as detailed above, in the two line pass.