‘Ringette is kind of what we do’: A Regina family’s love of the sport

Lauren Schoenhofen didn’t have to look far to find ringette role models.

Lauren’s mother, Donnell Schoenhofen, and aunt, Daina Seymour, have provided enough inspiration over the years to show Lauren that her biggest dreams can be achieved.

“They have been incredible role models for me,” says Lauren. “And that’s a lot for them.”

Lauren was recently named to the Canadian under-21 team for the upcoming World Ringette Championships, which will be played in Calgary starting October 1. 30. Lauren is one of two Saskatchewan athletes on Canada’s roster, along with Maddy Nystrom, who has been Lauren’s best friend since the two began playing together more than eight years ago.

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“It’s just an amazing feeling to see all the hard work I’ve put in over the years and the thousands of hours spent at the rink,” said Lauren. “Finally getting this reward is unreal…”

Additionally, Donnell was also named Canada’s assistant coach. For Lauren, it’s “coach” and not “mom” during the tournament.

“We do a really good job of keeping mom and coach separate, but it’s certainly not lost on me, it’s unique that we’re both in this situation together,” Lauren says.

“It’s really important to make sure I separate myself as a coach and as a parent,” adds Donnell, who is the team’s only Saskatchewan-based coach. “It’s also a challenge for Lauren to try to overturn people’s perception that she gets these opportunities because of me and my role.

“She achieved what she accomplished because of what she brought to the ice. She deserved all of this. It turns out that our paths are parallel at the moment.

This is not the first “parallel” situation that the family has experienced either.

earlier this year, Donnell and Daina were part of the all-female coaching staff for the Saskatchewan ringette team at the 2023 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island. Lauren competed as a team athlete and won the bronze medal, the province’s first medal in 24 years.

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One of the athletes on the team that won bronze in 1999 was Daina.

“I actually brought back my bronze medal from 1999 and shared it with the athletes before I went into the bronze match, just to give them a little motivation,” says Daina. “It was a great experience that we all came back together to help the province. »

To start

Lauren, Donnell and Daina all have unique stories of how they first got involved in sports, but it starts with older sister, Donnell.

“I remember growing up in east Regina and having a friend who played ringette,” Donnell recalls. “She said how much fun it was and how much she loved spending time with the girls and it was quick.

“It wasn’t hockey, it was something just for girls. And I thought it was cool.

After going to see her friend play, Donnell convinced her parents to sign her up. The following season, Donnell, who was eight years old at the time, joined the Mighty Cupids.

“That’s kind of when things started in 1983 and we just couldn’t get through it,” she says.

Being six years younger, Daina watched Donnell play for several years before getting the chance to lace up the skates herself. Not only was Daina a spectator for a few years, but she also served as the mascot for Donnell’s U12 team.

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“I was just a part of it that way, just watching and not really realizing the impact it was having on me at the time,” says Daina, who was also recently named assistant coach of the team development program. Under 18 from Ringette Canada.

Naturally, when Lauren was old enough, she also got involved in sports. Now 18, she remembers going public skating at the Al Ritchie Arena while regularly going to see her mother and aunt play, the rink becoming a second home to her.

“That’s where I grew up,” Lauren says. “Ringette is deeply rooted in my family and everyone is always at the rink.

“Everything I ever wanted to do to you at the rink.”

Lauren Schoenhofen in action for Team Saskatchewan at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Photo by Justin Richard Batten


Daina and Donnell’s father, Ted Haubrich, also played a major role in their ringette success.

Ted coached both girls as they grew up in the sport and inspired them to get involved in coaching, alongside their mother Brenda, who was a manager.

“He kind of paved the way for me and my sister to realize that there was a lot to offer in this sport,” Daina says.

“Even when Daina and I weren’t on teams, Dad was coaching,” Donnell adds. “It really showed us a passion for coaching, not just coaching our own kids.”

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As a teenager, Donnell joined her father behind the bench, helping coach Daina’s teams from U12s to U18s.

“Being a part of his ringette journey and working with my dad, we formed a special bond over the years we coached together,” says Donnell, who also coached Daina alongside Ted at the Canada Games. from 2003.

“Ringette has been a very important part of our journey for decades. »

Power poster

In the late 1990s, Donnell served as technical director of Ringette Canada, stationed in Ottawa, before returning to Saskatchewan to start a family.

In 2010, she was named manager of the national team which traveled to Finland for the World Ringette Championships. Back in Regina, she brought home to Lauren a poster signed by the entire national team.

This poster has been hanging in Lauren’s room sinceAnd that sight alone fueled his dream of one day making the national team.

“I fell asleep watching it every night,” Lauren says. “There was never a doubt in my mind about what I wanted my next step to be.

“For my mom to have that experience and bring her back, to know that this is something I can achieve…I never had any other goal in mind.”

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In the fall, Lauren will attend the University of Calgary, while also playing AA U19 ringette in Calgary. She is eligible for the next national team cycle, alongside Donnell, who will serve in her role for the three-year cycle.

The next generation

Before starting her own family, Daina won a silver medal at the world championships as an alternate for Team Canada in 2000 and was named an apprentice coach for Team Canada in 2008.

Not only does she still play ringette after more than 30 years of playing the sport, but she also has two daughters, Natalie, 14, and Ainsley, 12, who also currently play in the high performance pipeline.

“It helps us create a healthy lifestyle,” says Daina, who has also been training both girls for several years. “There’s a lot of physical activity, there’s friendships, there’s camaraderie, there’s life skills.

“There is so much to be gleaned from any sport and this just happened to be one that our family fell in love with and found a lot of value in.”

The love for sport is also something that Daina’s husband Jeff has fully embraced, also becoming a coach.

“When my husband and I met, he kind of had to embrace the ringette community because it’s what our family is all about,” says Daina. “Ringette is simply what we do. »

Alec Dittman

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