Atlantic Canadian content key factor in Ottawa Capitals championship run
With the Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA) hosting its first national championship since 2019, a significant absence was evident as no team represented the Maritimes. Taking into account the quality players that hail from the region, as evidenced by the strong showings of the
Newfoundland United club, this resulted in an unprecedented opportunity to recruit players to the competing teams.
For the defending national champions the Ottawa Capitals, a terrific trio were recruited to don their red and gold jersey. All hailing from New Brunswick, Jessie McCann, who was raised in Grand
Bay, along with sisters Danielle and Rebecca (Becca) Ring, calling Saint John home, all hold
some unique connections. From the outset, all three have attended Fredericton’s St. Thomas
University. McCann and Danielle both played for the Tommies varsity ice hockey team,
while Becca wore the paraphernalia of the rugby team.
At the 2019 CBHA nationals, Becca, a member of the BC Selects blue line unit, earned a place
on the Tournament All-Star Team. Coincidentally, McCann played for Team BC in 2018,
enjoying a bronze medal. For Danielle, who called McCann a teammate with the Manitoba Rage
at the 2015 CBHA Nationals, the chance to call her sister a teammate six years later was highly
treasured, serving as a significant career milestone.
“My reaction when I was recruited to Ottawa was fully of excitement. I knew they had a good
team from the years passed and I knew a few girls on the team from playing with them on Team
Canada, so when the opportunity was there to play with them I could not be more happy to play
with a great group and my best friend Jessie and my sister Becca.”
Having enjoyed numerous ball hockey championships as teammates, highlighted by an International Street and Ball Hockey Federation (ISBHF) World Championship as teammates in 2019, which also saw three Newfoundlanders, Kristen Cooze, Aprill Drake and Dawn Tulk, on the Canadian contingent, McCann and Danielle, both long-time tournament veterans, are among a unique pair that have enjoyed success on numerous platforms; local, provincial, national and international. Recently, their sporting resumes included a Saint John Metro Ball Hockey League title, adding another notable achievement to their competitive legacies.
Reflecting on the opportunity of being able to compete, in a year that saw other leagues inactive,
the competitive advantage was of a great boon for McCann. Contented at the prospect of returning to familiar surroundings at nationals, the experience of leading her club team, the Flames, to a local championship, served as an invaluable preparation, providing her with a combination of confidence and an even sharper skill set, enabling her to build on such a proud result, simultaneously helping propel one of the game’s signature tournaments, back to a sense of normalcy and consistency.
“We have been fortunate enough to have our league going this year, the Saint John Metro Ball
Hockey League. Playing this season has helped big time. The feeling of taking the floor again at
Nationals was amazing. Almost a relief. The world is slowly going back to normal.”
With a number of tournament All-Star accolades in her career, including a prestigious place on
the 2019 ISBHF World Championship All-Star Team, accentuating the ISBHF gold medals won
in 2015 and 2019, the haul of hockey hardware in Calgary signified an exciting pinnacle for
McCann. In addition to her first national championship, the milestone was made much richer
with recognition as Tournament Most Valuable Player.
The peak was one discussed with humility and respect, as McCann is quick to recognize that the
road to glory was far from easy. Considering that a significant number of Canadian players from
the last ISBHF World Championship Team participated at this year’s CBHA nationals, adding a
sense of importance and credence to the magnitude of the event, it augmented the quality of play while ensuring that every victory was hard-earned.
Along with a handful of former U SPORTS and NCAA players peppered throughout, each roster
held certainly the potential for victory. Taking into account the level of talent, McCann recounts
how some match-ups held an All-Star component, especially when facing off against Calgary
United, which also featured a group of former Clarkson Cup champions with the Clagary Inferno of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL).
“Very special to win a national championship. I had not won one yet and I have two world
championships. I think winning a national championship is just as hard. Playing against all the
best girls in your country, most teams have some (players) from our Team Canada. Playing against Calgary was like Team Canada East Coast versus Team Canada West Coast.”
Considering that no CBHA tournament took place in 2020, the opportunity to play for a national
championship held an even more profound meaning for McCann and Danielle. Gaining the
opportunity to capture a CBHA National Championship together, a milestone that eluded them
in seasons past, the glorious outcome proved to be well worth the wait.
Signifying a sensational summit, the magnitude of this milestone is one that Danielle already
cherishes. In addition to a long-time friendship, both have shared highly special life moments. Of
note, she was bestowed the honour of the Best Man for McCann's wedding in 2017. She was also
at the hospital when McCann gave birth.
Coincidentally, 2017 also saw both of them help Team New Brunswick reach the bronze medal
game at the CBHA nationals, where the Ottawa Capitals presented the competition. Worth
noting, Danielle earned a place on the Tournament All-Star Team. Fast forward four years, and
the chance to wear the Capitals paraphernalia, as unforeseen as it was, allowed for more than a
sporting milestone. Fortifying a strong friendship, serving as another treasured life moment, the
aspiration of winning together once again has become a revered reality,
“Jessie McCann and I have been teammates for as long as I remember. We have been linemates for as long as I can remember, too. But to get a chance to play with her again and share this special moment of winning at nationals together, has been more than special; it is a dream. Jessie is a special player to play with, and any team she is on she makes a huge impact. I am glad to always get the chance to play with and has her linemate every chance we get.”
Images obtained from Facebook.
“ll quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.
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