Ringette has some very distinct differences to other ice sports. Although it looks a bit like hockey, it more closely resembles lacrosse or basketball in terms of its offensive and defensive play.
Ringette uses a rubber ring and sticks with specially designed tips. The objective is to score on the opponent by shooting the ring into their net.
There are two periods of 15 - 20 minutes, depending on the age of the players. Most games last approximately one hour. The pace is very fast, and players get lots of ice time in this hour.
Teams consist of between 7-18 players. Six players from each team are allowed on the ice at one time: 1 goalie (regular hockey stick), 2 defence, 2 forwards and 1 centre.
The players wear full protective equipment like hockey players, but ringette uses a unique stick and face mask. Ringette players wear jerseys but wear long pants instead of short pants and socks like hockey players do.
The goalie uses regular goalie equipment but in ringette some goalies use a unique catching glove.
Intentional body contact is not permitted.
Ringette uses the 2 blue lines but not the centre line. It also uses 2 additional free play lines which create zones unique to ringette.
Unlike hockey, the ring must be passed across the blue lines. This encourages passing and team play, enhancing the flow of the game and making it very fast.
The game is kept fast moving and wide open as only three players from each team may enter the offensive of defensive zone at a time. There is lots of room to move which creates many scoring chances.
Like basketball and lacrosse, in most divisions of Ringette, there is a shot clock that forces the teams to shoot quickly and also keeps the game moving quickly.