Ring, a graduate student and member of Ryerson’s women’s basketball team, is looking forward to returning to Ottawa in just over three months from now, where she will get to face off against her former team in the Rams’ final game of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) regular season.
“We’re playing them in the last game of the season, at Ottawa U, so it’s their senior night,” said Ring. “What a perfect ending to my OUA basketball career.”
After playing four accomplished seasons for the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and graduating from the school with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Ring transferred to Ryerson’s master’s of digital media program, and will play out her final year of eligibility for the Rams.
Her decision to transfer to Ryerson began several months ago while she was still playing at Ottawa, as she began to explore her options after graduation.
“It was probably around this time last year where I really started looking, because all the deadlines were coming up to apply for grad school,” said Ring.
Ring sent Rams head coach Carly Clarke an email to let Clarke know she had applied to graduate school at Ryerson, before receiving her acceptance in early February.
“She knew the exact program she wanted and only two schools had it, and we were one of them,” said Clarke. “And that associated with the strength of our basketball program was attractive to her to play her last year.”
Ring says that although she was exploring her options over the course of last year, she stayed focused on finishing strong in her final season at Ottawa before she started to really think about transferring.
Ironically, the Rams met Ring’s Gee-Gees in last season’s OUA championship game that Ryerson won by a score of 66-60, and both teams then advanced to the national championship tournament. At nationals, Ottawa lost its first game and moved to the tournament’s consolation bracket, while Ryerson went on to earn a silver medal.
“After the season, that’s when I spoke to Carly that I was coming, and I made a decision right away,” said Ring.
Ring moved to Toronto in May and trained with some of Ryerson’s other players over the summer, which she and Clarke both say helped Ring to bond with her teammates right away.
“The chance to get to know them and interact with them for a few months before the season made everything a little less foreign,” said Clarke.
As a player at Ottawa, Ring garnered several accolades, including being selected as an OUA first-team all-star twice and winning the OUA championship in 2012.
“You’re always careful with transfers, but a fifth-year transfer that’s making a clear academic decision is a pretty safe one,” said Clarke. “And then obviously Kellie’s track record speaks for itself.”
Ring’s track record is not limited just to individual statistics and team success though, as she has also shown considerable perseverance and dedication to basketball after sustaining significant injuries.
While at Ottawa, Ring tore her ACL — twice. Some players might have given up after suffering such devastating knee injuries, but Ring says that even after her second injury, she was determined to make a comeback.
“There was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to continue playing,” said Ring. “I honestly think that everything happens for a reason, and I grew so much as not only a basketball player from sitting out, but I think I grew so much as a person and matured.”
Although she’s now playing for a new team, living in a new city, and has a long season ahead of her, Ring can’t help but look forward to Feb. 18, when she’ll return to Ottawa to share the court with her old teammates one last time.
“It’s just going to be a great night,” said Ring. “Obviously, it’s still going to be competitive, but I just thought, what a fairy-tale ending.”