Photo: Bryan Meler

Kellie Ring hopes to punch her ticket to Tokyo 2020

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By Aidan Lising

Kellie Ring travels, but rarely on the basketball court.

During her career, she has played in Montenegro, Chile and Mexico representing Canada. Soon, the former Ryerson standout hopes to add Tokyo to that list.

Ring was one of 33 players invited to the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team Assessment Camp in Edmonton, taking place from May 13-22. Some of the women participating are returning members of the Canadian Olympic team that was knocked out by France in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ring didn’t quite have that reputation so she had to take an extra step to earn an invitation.

“The open ID session was three hours and they basically let us play different games: 3-on- 3, 4-on-4, 5-on- 5,” said Ring, who led the Rams in assists in 2017. “So it was just a lot of fun moving around.”

Canada Basketball held two open identification sessions for players to come and showcase their skills to coaches for the national team. One session was held in Edmonton, and the other at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, a venue Ring got to know quite well during her time as a Ram.

Not only did Ring impress, but she had home-court advantage.

“At the end, they were just explaining all the different teams this summer for the different age groups and then they called out four names at the end,” recalled Ring. “To my surprise my name was called and they asked if all four of us wanted to go to Edmonton the following day.”

Ring flew into Edmonton on Thursday night, one step closer to her childhood dream of playing in the Olympics.

“It’s just cool to see everybody passionate about the same thing, being here for the same reason,” said Ring.

In a gym full of Sparks, Huskies and Spartans, Ring is the only Ram. While she says she’s honoured to represent Ryerson, it’s more of an honour to represent U Sports.

“I think it’s important to show that people who play in U Sports are capable of being with the top [players] in the country,” said Ring. “So there’s myself from the OUA and Ryerson and there’s also Alex Kiss-Rusk from McGill. So we’re the only ones representing from U Sports.”

Other notable participants in the camp are NCAA stars Kia Nurse (UConn) and Utah’s Emily Potter, Paige Crozon and Daneesha Provo, along with WNBA players like Natalie Achonwa of the Indiana Fever and Quinn Dornstauder of the Los Angeles Sparks.

To make it to this level is a feat for anyone, but especially for Ring. During her university career, she tore her ACL twice and has been working hard to get back to play at an international level.

“I’m just looking forward to just show myself again and work hard. I want to show that I can compete with the best in the country and just soak in this experience,” said Ring.

“I think it’s important to not forget that we’re out here to compete and bring Canada to the next level.”

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