She was the MVP of the league as a hockey player with the Portage Collegiate Saints but where Karly Vince really excels is when her stick has no blade.
Vince has been named to Team Manitoba's ringette squad for the 2023 Canada Winter Games. The forward says this has been something she's been striving for and notes it's gratifying to see her hard work pay off. The Portager talks about the process she went through to be a part of this team.
"We had four tryouts in Manitoba that started in September last year. After each of the tryouts, we would all meet in a boardroom, and they would pull us aside to tell us if we made it through or not," Vince explains. "All the girls that made it through that tryout went to New Brunswick, 31 of us. We competed against other provinces, and then we came back and found out if we made the team or not."
Vince says waiting to find out whether she made the final cut or not was one of the most nerve-wracking moments of her life.
"I was in the meeting room, just making conversation with one of the girls, and then they were like, 'Where's Vince. We need Vince.' I was shocked because I was one of the first people called. When I was walking to the room where the coaches were, I was so nervous, and when I got in there, all the coaches were standing in a half circle around me," Vince continues. "One of the coaches who coached me at the Manitoba Winter Games said, 'Are you okay with me coaching you for another games?' I said 'Yes' and they handed me a card telling me I made the team. I couldn't believe it, I was shaking in excitement."
The forward notes wearing the 'M' on her jersey has been her number one goal for the last four years.
"I'm so proud of myself, and I'm so honoured to represent Manitoba at the Canada Winter Games," says Vince. "It's so exciting because when I was in Grade 9, I saw all these older girls wearing Team Manitoba stuff and representing our province at the games. In Grade 9, I was like, 'That's where I want to be in four years.' I worked hard and eventually got to my goal."
After finally achieving that goal, Vince says her new target is to bring home a gold medal this February. The Portage Collegiate Insitute graduate says these tryout experiences have already taught her a tremendous amount about the game.
"Most of my life, I played at the A or B level. So, I never really got the opportunity to play against other provinces except for Saskatchewan. So, it was really cool to play against the eastern teams and see how they play because it's a totally different style," Vince explains. "They play in the triangle very differently, and I learned that I needed to adapt my skills to be able to still score against them and beat them. I'm used to doing the same thing over and over and have had it work most of the time but I had to adapt and break through their triangle in different ways. I found that really fun and challenging at the same time."
Vince believes this experience has already made her a better player and adds they have been watching film from the exhibition games in New Brunswick. She notes watching what she does on the ice from a third-person perspective has improved her knowledge of the sport immensely and has made her more of a student of the game.
The forward says they have seven months to prepare for the upcoming Canada Winter Games. Vince notes she's very excited to build up some chemistry with the rest of the team leading up to the event.
"I'm looking forward to becoming closer with everyone. I've only played with half of the girls, so I know some of them but the other girls I've only been able to play against," Vince continues. "Everyone has a different style of play, so learning how to work with them and learning from them makes my game better."
The Canada Winter Games will take place from February 18 to March 5 in Prince Edward Island.