Rode: Lacombe ringette defensive star hoping for chance at national squad

You won’t find Melissa Misutka among the leading scorers on any of her ringette teams, but that’s fine with the 18-year-old Lacombe native.

Misutka, who plays for the Central Alberta Sting, is one of the premier U19AA defencemen in the country, a talent she hopes to earn her to a berth on the Canadian National U21 team for the World Championships.

“I hope to get a chance to try out … that’s my goal,” said Misutka, who was a first team all-star at last year’s U19AA national finals.

“I will know in the first week of April if I’m invited to their tryout camp which is at the end of May. From there they pick the team for the World Championships, which will be in Mississauga.”

Misutka became involved in ringette when she was four.

“The first time I heard of it my friend wanted to try it so I wanted to try it as well and I loved it and just kept playing,” she explained.

Growing up in Lacombe, which has one of the top ringette programs in the province, helped her development.

“It’s a really good program here. A lot of girls have gone on to play nationally and for Canada and there’s still a lot of younger girls involved.”

But she didn’t play competitively until she reached the U12 level, where she helped the U12AA Sting win the provincial title.

“I started being more competitive when I reached the AA level,” she said. “From U12 to U14 it really took off.”

Misutka also played school sports in junior high, but by Grade 10 was concentrating on ringette.

“I was too busy to continue with the school sports in high school,” she said. “I had to choose what I wanted to do and I loved ringette.”

Misutka played a number of positions when she first started out in the sport, but settled in on defence at an early age.

“Someone put me there, but that’s fine. I’m not a super offensive player so it suits me.”

Still she gets the odd goal and at this year’s provincials, where the Sting finished third, she had five assists in four games.

She sees herself as a strong skater and as one of the team captains, a leader.

“I’m one of the more vocal players in the dressing room, so it’s easy for me to do that,” she said. “I did attend a number of ringette camps as a youngster, but skating has always been one of my strengths.”

Misutka competed at the U16AA nationals, finishing second. Last year the Sting, who came in as Team Alberta, placed third.

“They were amazing experiences,” she said.

This year’s Canadians are in Leduc, March 26-April 1.

Misutka is in the Bachelor of Science program at RDC, but has applied to attend the University of Alberta in September as she looks to join the Edmonton WAM of the National Ringette League.

“I was drafted by them last year and I’m affiliated with them,” she said. “I hope to play with them next year.”

She would fit right in as the WAM is loaded with Central Albertans with forwards Jamie and Dailyn Bell, Emily Otto and Gillan Dreger and defencemen Lindsay Brown and Bryn Lunn from Lacombe. Forwards Kelsie Caine and Ashlynn Morrison and goalie Breanna Beck from Red Deer.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at drode@bprda.wpengine.com. His work can also be seen at Danny’s blog at rdcathletics.ca

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