The Ringer: Do They Help or Hurt Your Team?

the ringer
Jerry Yu

The pros and cons of bringing a ringer onto your team


By Warren Tabachnick


It’s no secret that every hockey team is always looking to improve. If your team has endured a sub par record that has put you at the bottom of the pack season after season, you might be thinking, Enough is enough. We need to take some corrective action here.

For those not familiar with the term, ringer is a word used to describe a hockey player that’s way too good for the level he or she is playing at. And it’s usually uttered bitterly by the team on the losing end of the equation.


The Pros: What a Ringer Does For Your Team

  • If your team sucks, it’s the easiest fix. While the rest of the team might be struggling to rack up goals, the ringer can almost always guarantee a favorable outcome for the game—if not the season.
  • Your team will soon be posting more points on the scoreboard
  • Your team will see a marked improvement in the league standings
  • If they’re as good of a person as they are a player, the ringer will most likely help struggling players around them with tips and pointers
  • The ringer often opens up opportunities for other players by “drawing” the defenders to them


The Cons: How the Ringer Can Hurt Your Team

The downside of having such a player on your team is they become a moving target. Often players on the losing team will look for any opportunity to trip up or even take this type of player out of the game. Naturally, this can escalate into a dangerous situation.

To keep things fair and on an even keel, increased attention and scrutiny is required by the league brass; you don’t want to land your team in a tough spot. To put it bluntly, using a ringer is essentially cheating and is usually penalized as such.

The risks could be anything from:

  • Suspension of the captain or coach
  • Forfeiting of games
  • Removing the ringer from your team and bumping them up to a higher division
  • Moving your team up to a higher division. (Obviously, this action can present many challenges, especially for those players on the team who are less skilled.)

The decision to bring in a ringer is not an easy one to make. Hopefully the points outlined here can help. Just keep in mind that as rec hockey players, the goal for us is to get out on the ice, get a sweat going, and have a great time playing the coolest game on earth.

Warren Tabachnick is the editor of—For the Recreational & Beer League Hockey Player.

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