General FAQs

What is changing?

Ringette Alberta is creating a number of unique participation options players may choose from and we’re implementing changes to improve the experience players have, regardless of the option they choose.


Why is Ringette Alberta making these changes?

The short answer is that this is what players want and need.

We’ve done the research and consulted extensively with a broad cross-section of players, and the message is clear. We need to evolve beyond the current ‘one size fits all’ approach if we want to ensure that every player at every level has the best possible ringette experience, which leads to a stronger, more viable sport.

In intensive conversations with current and past players, we heard repeatedly that when athletes do not get the experience that they want or expect from ringette, they leave the sport. Some leave because they want more competition, while others want less. Some want more practice time, some want less, and some want none at all. Conversely, when players are given choices that align with their needs and expectations, they are more likely to stick with the game.

Ringette Alberta is moving forward with changes that will provide players with more options and flexibility. These changes are designed to improve the experience for every player, no matter the context or skill level. They are also designed to improve player retention and grow the sport in every community. While Ringette Alberta is leading this process, our member associations will play a crucial role in implementing the changes.


What research have you done to know this is the right thing to do?

From a sport science point of view, countless research has been done by experts across a broad range of fields. Collectively, this vast knowledge base is the foundation for the Canadian Sport for Life Society’s Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD).  LTAD provides the framework for these changes.

For Ringette Alberta’s part, to help us make the decision to create these options, we did two very involved consultations with the players directly.

First, we hired Caminata Consulting to conduct extensive telephone interviews with players who have left the game.  In total 296 players were surveyed to learn about why they left the game

Secondly, we hired Johnston Research to conduct qualitative research via five focus groups involving 65 current and former players to dig into their view of the ringette experience and their perception of the proposed changes.

Individuals with every type of playing experience and skill level were included as well as those from large urban centres and smaller and more remote communities.


What kinds of options will players have moving forward?

Currently, the ringette experience is defined by the age of the athlete (birth year) and skill (determined by evaluations or tryouts). The training and overall time commitment for players is determined, by default, by the level or tier of play and by the preferences and expectations of the coach. Players have little influence over their ringette experience.

Players in Alberta will be introduced to the following distinct participation options which will be rolled out over the coming years. Each option has been designed to meet players’ needs and expectations, based on what they want to get out of the game and what they want to put into it. These options will be phased in over the coming seasons. Click on an option for a full description: 

Within each participation option, there will be different skill levels, and players will be grouped accordingly. It will be clear to players, parents, coaches and local associations what each option is supposed to look like and what the expectations are.

The following supplementary programs will also be offered: Introduction to Ringette and Learn to Skate for youth and adult players.


Are players able to choose any option they want in this new system?
Yes, with a few exceptions.

Children in Active Start, U10 and U12 may only participate in Children’s Ringette (or entry programs like Learn to Skate and Introduction to Ringette). This is to ensure they learn the fundamentals of ringette before moving on to other options.

When the new structure has been fully implemented, players in U14 to U19 will be able to enrol in Flex or Classic ringette and may also enrol in Excellence Ringette, provided they can commit to the program expectations (time and effort), meet the entry standards which are derived from the Train to Train stage listed in the Athlete Development Matrix as a minimum, and show that they are progressing. There are no tryouts for limited spots for Excellence Ringette. All athletes who want to enrol and meet the standards will be accepted.


Is Excellence Ringette a “better” option than Classic Ringette? Is Classic Ringette a “better” option than Flex Ringette? Should everyone be striving for Excellence?

The primary difference between Flex, Classic and Excellence ringette is not skill level. Rather, it’s how much time (number of ice-times and hours of training) a player wants to commit to ringette and what their goals are (which impacts effort expected). Every option will have clearly defined parameters based on these factors. Every option has value and players should chose the option that is the best fit for them.

As athletes progress in the the Excellence program, their skills will improve, but that doesn’t mean players with the same skills won’t also be found in the Flex and Classic programs. Today, there are ex-national team players who are still exceptional athletes but no longer have a pursuit of excellence mindset and choose to play for different reasons. Conversely, there are players whose skills are not as finely honed who want to play and train with purpose and intensity.


When will these changes be implemented?

You will start to see changes in the 2019/20 season, but they will be implemented in phases, over time. For example, the move from full-ice games to cross-ice and half-ice games will start with the very youngest players (Active Start and U10 Step 1) in the 2019/20 season and will follow them as they get older.  


How will this benefit my child?
We believe that providing players with more options that meet their needs and expectations will lead to happier, more confident players who are more likely to want to stay in the game.

With these changes, players who like to play but don’t enjoy an overly intense environment will have that choice. Athletes who want a traditional ringette experience, Classic Ringette, will be with like-minded teammates. Athletes who want to reach their full potential and put in the work to get there will have a high quality training and competition environment to help them be the best player they can be.

These changes will help you and your child make more informed choices. You will know ahead of time what the general expectations are in each participation option, and once your child has established a solid foundation in Children’s ringette, they will have the freedom to choose the option that they want.


How do I help my child decide which option is best for them?
If your child is in Active Start, U10 or U12, they may only participate in Children’s Ringette. If your child is in U14 to U19, as the options become available, they will look to you for guidance when making their choice between Flex, Classic or Excellence programs. 

We recommend reading the descriptions of each participation option on their respective pages on YourRingette.ca and check out the find your ringette page. Ask your child questions about why they want to play ringette, how often they want to play and train, and what they want from the experience. Let them lead the decision making, if possible. Remember that all skill levels and options are equally valued and respected, and the goal is for your child to have the ringette experience they want.


What are the registration deadlines for these new options? When do we need to decide?

Registration deadlines will vary depending on the association. In most cases, returning players will make their choice when their association conducts spring registration which is typical and will remain unchanged. Contact your local association directly to confirm registration deadlines.


Will these changes affect coaching certification requirements?

Ringette Alberta doesn’t control the coaching certification requirements. However, we don’t anticipate any changes to them beyond what would be considered normal changes to improve the program. The current program is more or less already aligned with the new structure. Furthermore, we believe these changes will set up coaches for greater success. When players with the same expectations are placed in programs that are designed to meet those expectations, and coaches know what those expectations are, everyone has an easier, more rewarding experience.


What training will coaches receive to ensure that they are providing the proper coaching for the different program options?

The National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) already provides coaches with the core knowledge they need. As with any vocation, people can seek out additional opportunities for learning and development if they wish. As we make the transition, Ringette Alberta will provide helpful resources. For example, we are already publishing short, informative and easy to digest videos on our YouTube channel and are making investments to continue to do so and develop other support.


How will these changes impact the officials?

Generally, there will be little change. Some adjustments will be needed in Children’s Ringette to accommodate the shift to cross-ice and half-ice games, but these will be manageable and, in fact, an easier transition for new officials.

More information will follow. It will flow from Ringette Alberta’s Officials Development Coordinator to local Referees-in-Chief and Assignors.


How is it possible to offer Excellence, Classic and Flex programs with the number of players we have?

We recognize that it will be a bit of a “chicken and egg” scenario at first. We will increase our registration numbers over the long term by offering more options to keep people playing, but we will also need more players to offer all the options across the province and especially in smaller communities.

We expect to encounter some growing pains, but we are committed to going through with this change. We plan to make the transition easier by phasing in the new program options over time and being flexible during the process. For example, Flex ringette for teens can have broader age categories than Classic ringette to ensure that there are enough players in each group to make the programs viable. 

It’s also important to note that not every ringette association needs to offer every option right away or at all. Associations may want to work with their neighbours to run viable regional programs as well rather than every association having to run their own.


What will these changes mean for the residency policy?
It is proposed that, for the 2020-21 season, the residency policy will remain in effect but will include one important change, which would have been made regardless if these program options were implemented; athletes who wish to leave their current association and register with another will be required to make that choice no later than June 30th or prior to the spring registration deadline for the new association (whichever date comes first).

This change is being made to ensure that associations have reasonably accurate registration numbers heading into their summer planning phase for the following season and to make team formation in September quicker and easier for associations. Athletes will still have choice, but the compromise is they must exercise that choice earlier.

The Ringette Alberta Residency Policy will be updated to reflect this change and include the detailed requirements.


Are other provinces implementing these changes now?
Ringette Canada expects all provinces to begin the transition to small-area games in Children’s ringette for the 2019/20 season. Some have already made the change.

Alberta will be the first province to phase in Flex, Classic and Excellence programs that are distinct from one another.  When they are ready and if they are working to implement the recommendations found in the Competition Reviewother provinces may follow suit, but will do so in a way that reflects the uniqueness of their province – not every province will take the same approach.


How will these changes impact inter-provincial play?
Our programming will still allow Alberta’s teams to participate in inter-provincial tournaments as well as the Western Canadian and Canadian Ringette Championships.


If I still have questions after reading the FAQs, who do I ask?

If your question has not been addressed in these general FAQs or the FAQs for each specific option, please submit it to questions@YourRingette.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

Children's Ringette FAQs

What’s changing in Children’s ringette?

Beginning in Active Start and U10 Step 1 in the 2019/20 season, players will learn the fundamentals of the sport on a smaller surface that reflects their size (cross-ice or half-ice).

This change will allows each player more ring time and opportunities to hone ring control, passing and shooting skills, as well as fundamental skating skills, before layering on more complex elements of the game. Players are able to develop at their own pace in a safe environment where the focus is on fun and maximum participation.

Active Start, U10, and U12 are included in Children’s Ringette. The U12 participants play on full ice and conclude their season with a regional/league championship. Active Start are playing cross-ice games, while U10 Step 1 is playing half-ice games. U10 Step 2 and 3 are unchanged for the 2019/20 season. View a detailed description of Children’s ringette here.


Will players in Children’s ringette still get to play games?

Yes! Competition is why people participate in sport. The design of the competition (modified playing surface, modified rules), has changed, but the competition is staying.


How did you decide which children will play on which size of ice surface?

The proper time to progress to a larger ice surface is actually unique for each person however, for practical reasons, and until we have a willingness to be more flexible with athlete placement, we have to pick a time to make the change and apply that to an entire group.

We have introduced a smaller ice surface for the youngest participants—starting with Active Start (cross-ice) and U10 Step 1 (half-ice)—in the 2019-20 season.

We have observed a very successful progression of cross ice to half ice to full ice in use in Finland where they have been using this approach for 25 years. Finland’s closest equivalent to our Active Start plays play cross-ice and their closest equivalent to our U10s play on half ice. 

We aren’t fully committing to 2020/21 and beyond until we can assess the outcomes of changes made in 2019-20 and have more information on what is the appropriate group to change from half-ice to full ice.


What do we do if a player is further ahead or behind the rest of the kids her age but we’re using age to group players?

Ultimately, the plan is to eliminate age groups below U12 and only rely on the ADM (which looks at more than just ringette skill) to group like with like. Realistically, this is 4-5 years away. In the mean time, everyone should be willing to allow a player to participate in a group that is the best fit for her which includes ringette skills but other non-ringette factors as well, regardless of her birthdate. Remember: the ‘Step’ program was designed to consider age as one factor in grouping children; it does not mean all 6-7 year olds need to play Step 1. If a 7 year old is ready for Step 2, they should be grouped with similarly skilled peers.


Will children who have played full-ice games before this change have to play on smaller surfaces?

Ideally, no, but…

In Active Start:

Due to inconsistency in the format for Active Start across the province (some Active Start players have never played games while others have played a regular schedule of full ice games) there will be some who have played on full ice in the 2018-19 season who will play on a smaller ice surface in 2019-20.  Based on registration data, this is expected to impact approximately 90 athletes (who have played on full ice in 2018-19) or approximately 17% this season’s Active Start players. 

In U10:

Generally speaking, most athletes who were properly placed in Step 1 in 2018-19 should progress to Step 2 in 2019-20, although in some cases there may be a few that are not ready for Step 2.  These individuals would play half-ice games in 2019-20 rather than the full ice games they experienced in 2018-19. However, if they haven’t progressed to Step 2, the small area game may be exactly what they need to accelerate their development.


Is Ringette Alberta doing this because hockey is implementing similar changes?

No. Hockey is implementing small area games but this has been the plan since Ringette Canada released its Long-Term Athlete Development model in May 2009. 

Hockey isn’t likely the best comparison to ringette anyway.  Instead, the better comparison is ringette in Finland where they have been using smaller nets and smaller ice surfaces for 25 years with great results. 


Should the local associations be purchasing rink dividers?

This is up to your local association. If associations already own dividers, have access to them through a partnership with their hockey counterparts, or their municipality provides them, they should use them. However, rink dividers are not mandatory. While not ideal, games can be safely played without them.  


With games being played on a smaller ice surface, will fees be reduced?

A fee change based solely on a shift to smaller area games is not warranted.

The small area game is superior for development at this stage, with more quality time on the things that matter most (skating, passing, receiving, shooting).  

In many associations, fees for Active Start and U10 are subsidized to make the transition into ringette easier.  A deeper subsidy should not be expected.



More FAQ’s can be found on the Children’s Ringette page.


Flex Ringette FAQs

Will Flex ringette be like drop-in shinny? What type of player would be suited to it?

As the name implies, Flex ringette will be the most flexible ringette experience  for youth and adult players, but it is not shinny. 

It allows players to stay in the game, play as part of a team and compete, while only having to commit to one game every 7-10 days. It includes multiple shorter seasons (approximately 13 weeks each) with the option of attending 1-2 Friendship Tournaments each season.

There will be no mandatory practices. Players may participate in additional practices or training opportunities at their discretion.

The multiple shorter seasons in Flex ringette are designed to allow plenty of room for youth players to participate in other extracurricular activities or other personal interests. Players may sign up for just one season or both.

For adults, associations may offer either two shorter seasons or one typical season; whichever reflects the needs of their adult ringette participants.

View a detailed description of Flex ringette here.


What if my association doesn’t offer a Flex ringette option yet?

For youth, the plan is for Flex ringette to be introduced to U14 in the 2020/21 season and rolled out over time to U16 and U19. If there are enough players in your area who want this option now, let your association know so they can look into offering it.

If one doesn’t exist in your community, you may also enrol in a Flex program in a nearby community if their municipality’s ice regulations allow it.

This option already exists for adults. 


What are the session dates for Flex ringette?

For youth Flex ringette, local associations are expected to offer two seasons per calendar year to give players more flexibility. Generally, these will run from September to December and January to April. Players can choose to play in one or both seasons, based on their preferences. Each local association can choose the specific dates they roll out their programs.

For adult Flex ringette, associations may offer either two shorter seasons or one typical season; whichever reflects the needs of their adult ringette participants.


Will Flex ringette teams get worse ice times?
With the exception of ice frequency, Flex ringette players shouldn’t expect anything different from what is provided to Classic ringette teams in the same association.


Will youth Flex ringette teams still be supplied with jerseys and other equipment?
With the exception of ice frequency, Flex ringette players shouldn’t expect anything different from what is provided to Classic ringette teams in the same association.


What will be the cost of Flex ringette?
Costs may vary depending on the association. Contact your local association directly to find out the cost to register and any additional fees.

Classic Ringette FAQs

How will Classic ringette look different from the ringette we know now? What type of player would be suited to it?
Generally speaking, the changes will be minimal. Classic ringette is the closest to what ringette looks like now.

In the past, people have assumed that a lower tier/level meant a less competitive program despite no commonly accepted definition of “competitive” actually existing. This is changing.

Athletes who choose Classic ringette will do so because they want the experience it offers, regardless of their skill level. Skill levels may vary and teams will be formed accordingly, but all players have a desire to compete and should be treated as such.

Athletes who do not want the Classic ringette experience or time commitment are encouraged to choose Flex ringette instead.

Because Classic ringette is the option that most resembles what ringette looks like today, it will be better defined and continue for U14, U16, U19 and Adults in the 2019/20 season. 

Athletes in Classic ringette can expect to play approximately 1.5 games per week on average plus practices. This would be higher on weeks where a tournament is scheduled.

View a detailed description of Classic ringette here.


What age groups will have Classic ringette as an option?
U14 to adults.


So U12 isn’t included in Classic ringette?
No, U12 is found within Children’s ringette. 

This means that, while U12 will look similar to what it looks like now, there is an expectation that the frequency and intensity of U12 be reflective of the children’s game and not the environment which is appropriate for teens and adults.

Starting in 2020, U12 players will end their season with a league championship rather than a provincial championship at the discretion of their league or region.


What will be the cost of Classic ringette?
Costs may vary depending on the association. Contact your local association directly to find out the cost to register and any additional fees.

Excellence Ringette FAQs

Who will be eligible to enter an Excellence program?

Entry to this program is not a try out for limited roster spots.  Entry is based on an athlete’s readiness for the training program and creating reasonably similar training groups.  Athletes must also agree to the program expectations and maintain that commitment throughout their time in the program. Progression is also expected, but it is up to the individual athlete to decide if they want to leave the Excellence program based on slower than desired progression.

Within the program, players will be grouped in training and competition with athletes at a similar skill level for optimal development, and groupings may change over the season. The goal is to ensure that everyone is challenged to be their best.

Athletes considering this option should understand it requires the biggest commitment of time and effort.  They can expect some ringette-related activity most of the week with appropriate days allocated for rest and recovery. Excellence ringette will be introduced to U14 in the 2019/20 season. Once it is fully implemented, it will be an option for players from U14 to U19 and integrate with the National Ringette League if and when the League is ready.

View a detailed description of Excellence here.


It feels like AA is disappearing. Is that true?

Players in the Excellence program will not be designated as AA players since there will be athletes at different stages of development included. However, the expectations of the athletes, coaches and program operators will very much align with an “excellence” mindset, and we expect that Excellence ringette programming will actually be superior to what many AA programs offer today.


How will Excellence ringette be superior to current AA programs; what’s wrong with AA today?

Overall, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with today’s AA programs, however, the Excellence ringette training and competition plan will be completely aligned with the approach needed for these athletes to obtain the attributes exhibited by the best athletes, not just ringette players, in the world.

Excellence ringette will be curriculum-based to prepare athletes for the environment they can expect within Ringette Canada’s High Performance programs, while being mindful of their stage of development.

The training programs for individual athletes will take a long-term view and consider goal setting; on-ice and off-ice training; being challenged in competition; progress assessment, tracking and reporting; injury prevention and management; nutrition, sleep and recovery; growth and maturation; and more. Each program will include the support of an Integrated Service Team that includes sport science and sport medicine professionals.

This overall objective and the elements of the Excellence program are not universally present in today’s AA programs. In a 2016 survey of AA clubs, only one indicated it felt any responsibility to contribute to the success of Ringette Canada’s national teams through player development in the years preceding trying out for a national team program. The Excellence program in Alberta is raising the bar. 


Will we have to get rid of our AA-labelled uniforms, apparel and equipment bags?

Not immediately. However, as these items get replaced over time, the “AA” label should not reappear. Rather than continuing to use AA-labelled items, the Excellence brand marks—which will be provided by Ringette Alberta—should be used. This will be a more accurate representation of the program and all the athletes enrolled in it. Also, AA is a level. It is not a program and the confusion between the two, which we’ve experienced in recent years, will end.

Teams will be formed from athletes within the Excellence program for advancement to the Canadian Ringette Championship (CRC) and Western Canadian Ringette Championships (WCRC), toward the end of each season. Only then would it make sense to consider these teams AA given their entry in into a competition against teams from other provinces considering themselves AA.


Will each Excellence program only make one AA team to go to the Canadian Ringette Championships?

Each Excellence program must form as many AA teams as necessary to accommodate the number of players it has in the program. There are different competition types that will be applied at various times in this program.  They are: Best vs. Best and Next vs Next, Diverse within a team, Bio-banded.  We expect the Best vs. Best and Next vs Next approach to apply for the Canadian Ringette Championships.  Practically speaking, there is more consultation to be done before an approach is finalized.


Which age groups will be affected by these changes?

Currently, Ringette Alberta plans to roll out Excellence ringette to U14, U16 and U19 however this has yet to be finalized.

     Will the program look the same for all age groups?

    Fundamentally, the elements of the programs will be consistent, but program expectations will be stage appropriate. As athletes progress, performance expectations and commitment of time and effort will change.


    How does this link to and include the National Ringette League?

    Ringette Canada’s High Performance plan includes the NRL as the primary daily training and competition environment for the athletes who are next up for the Jr. and Sr. National Teams. The NRL was originally designed to help raise the profile of the game and to provide the high quality training environment for these athletes throughout the year.

    What is missing in the high performance pathway, aside from a general improvement to some NRL teams’ training program, is a place for graduating U19 players who have NRL potential but may not be quite ready to make the jump to the NRL, to continue to train and compete in a high quality environment.

    Within Alberta, our intention is to have the Excellence programs for U14, U16 and U19 fully aligned with the NRL teams in Alberta and Ringette Canada’s High Performance programs to create one integrated system. Ringette Canada has stated its desire to have two tiers in the NRL: a tier considered “elite” made up of the current NRL teams (more or less) and a second tier made up of players around the ages of 18 to 23 to help them make the jump from U19 to the NRL. This is still a number of years off, and it is outside Ringette Alberta’s control. In the meantime, we will integrate as much as we can, and as much as is appropriate, with Alberta’s NRL teams at their discretion.


    How can players in Excellence ringette be expected to train or compete daily and throughout the year when ringette isn’t supposed to be played year-round? 

    What is meant by the term “daily training environment” is that an athlete should have a 365-day view of their training and competition plan. This does not mean that they are actually training or competing every single day. A 365 view includes accommodating off-season fitness maintenance and building a base for the coming season. It means appropriate rest and recovery, injury management, nutrition, and more. Even vacations, school or jobs need to be consciously integrated into the plan. In a 365 view, there are touch points with athletes throughout the off-season, including stage appropriate on-ice and off-ice programming.

    The difference between the Excellence ringette approach and what we see today is that today many people incorrectly assume that there should be no touch points with athletes in the off-season, which leads to athletes either overdoing their off-season training or doing nothing at all.


    If this isn’t a try out for limited roster spots, won’t that decimate other programs?

    The programs and associations exist for no other reason than to serve the athletes and it is the responsibility of administrators to allow players the choice. It is not the responsibility of the players to serve an association’s needs.  Program viability is the responsibility of the associations, not the players.  Based on the research (speaking with players) registration is expected to increase as a result of providing more options.


    If this isn’t a try out for limited roster spots, won’t that just water it down? 

    First, Excellence ringette programming is not the same as the AA world that we’re used to. Some people have expressed concern about what they perceive to be a watering down of AA in Alberta in recent years. This is not what the Excellence program will do.

    While all players meeting entry standards will be accepted, we don’t expect every one of those players to be at the same stage in their development journey. This means that they will not all be considered what some people today consider as “AA players”. Athletes with similar skill levels will be grouped together to ensure they are challenged and have an optimal learning environment.

    The other difference between the AA of today and the Excellence program of tomorrow is the mindset of the athletes involved.  We know that some players are playing AA today for reasons related to ego and prestige and not because they are necessarily prepared to put in the time and effort to reach a high performance goal.  At the same time, there are other players in AA today that have high expectations of themselves and their teammates and the different mindset can create conflict. Players entering the Excellence program in the future will all be aware that the same “excellence” mindset is expected of every player, regardless of skill, and if they’re not prepared to meet the expectations of the  program, a different program is a better choice.


    How many of these Excellence programs will there be and where will they be located?

    “Centres of Excellence” will need to be close to the majority of athletes who want access. We anticipate there will have to be programs in the Calgary area, Edmonton area and Central Alberta simply because this is where the bulk of our registered players reside. We won’t know for sure about how many or what the demand will be in other other areas until we are able to gauge interest from the athletes themselves.  


    What about players who don’t live near where a Centre of Excellence is offered?

    To run a sustainable program, there will have to be a sufficient number of athletes within a reasonable travel distance.

    We’re looking at ways to offer some satellite services for athletes in areas that are too far from a Centre of Excellence, so they can access elements of the programming where possible. The solutions will be designed based on demand and location.


    How will Ringette Alberta decide who gets to operate one of these Centres of Excellence?

    Unlike today, where any association can register a AA team, not every association will be licensed to operate a Centre of Excellence. Ringette Alberta is working with Ringette Canada to establish minimum standards for these centres. Based on those standards and other factors unique to Alberta, Ringette Alberta will award centre licenses through an application process. The number of licenses awarded will reflect program viability and sustainability, high standards and appropriate access for athletes.


    Where will Ringette Alberta find the coaches and other necessary staff to run Centres of Excellence?

    Alberta already has a solid core of talented coaches that Ringette Alberta believes will be very interested in being part of these programs.  We will also leverage support services available through the Alberta Sport Development Centres.


    Will the coaches, trainers and other staff of the Centres of Excellence be paid?
    Ringette Alberta is currently building the business model for the Centres of Excellence. We are keenly aware of the need for a high level of expertise and time commitment, which sometimes requires hiring professional staff, particularly specialists but are also aware of the need to keep the programs financially accessible which is made possible by effective and dedicated volunteers.


    What will be the cost of the Excellence programs?
    Ringette Alberta is currently building the business model for the Centres of Excellence. We are keenly aware of the need for a high level of expertise and time commitment, which sometimes requires hiring professional staff, particularly specialists but are also aware of the need to keep the programs financially accessible which is made possible by effective and dedicated volunteers.

    Learn To Skate

    Learn to Skate programs are generally targeted at youth and adults who never learned or would like to improve their skating and build confidence before adding the complexities of ringette.

    Learning to skate is generally part of Children’s Ringette provided those participants start at about 5-6 years of age.  For children who start skating later, a learn to skate program separate from ringette (may still be run by a ringette association) may be the better entry point. 

    Participants with no previous skating experience but older (around the ages of 9-11) are encouraged to complete a basic skating program before joining ringette.


    Intro to Ringette

    Intro to Ringette programs are targeted primarily at youth and adult participants (but can be made available for older children) who possess basic skating skills but did not begin ringette as early as their peers. 

    These programs quickly introduce participants to ringette basics so they are confident joining a ringette team after completion.

    Program components include rules orientation, basic strategies of the game, and time to practice the basics of ring control.

    Association FAQs


    Will every association be expected to offer every participation option?

    No. However, associations should try to offer program options that reflect the wants and needs of people in the area. Ringette is not the only option available to our target market.

    Notwithstanding those associations that serve adult participants only (CORA, WRAC, NAWRA, etc.), associations will have the freedom to offer the following participation options: Children’s Ringette, Flex Ringette and Classic Ringette. They may also augment these core programs with Learn to Skate and Intro to Ringette programs.

    Not all associations will be granted a license to operate a Centre of Excellence.  The Centre of Excellence is where the Excellence Ringette programs will operate.


    Can associations offer every option?

    No.  Not every association will be granted a license to operate a Centre of Excellence. Adult-exclusive associations won’t be able to run Children’s Ringette programs.


    Why can’t every association that wants to operate a Centre of Excellence get a license to do so?

    We need to limit the number of these centres to ensure there is a sufficient number of athletes and highly qualified staff to be sustainable.


    Right now all associations can form AA teams. Why can’t they all run a Centre of Excellence in the future?

    The two are not the same. Alberta can sustain a limited number of Centres of Excellence operated to the expected standards, but too many centres would not be sustainable.


    How will Ringette Alberta decide who gets to run a Centre of Excellence?
    Ringette Alberta is working with Ringette Canada to set the standards. An applicant’s ability to meet these standards, among other considerations, will be assessed as part of an application process.  


    What if no current associations or newly formed associations are interested in operating a Centre of Excellence?

    We don’t anticipate that this will be the case. However, if it becomes necessary, Ringette Alberta will operate the Centres.


    How does Ringette Alberta expect the volunteers who run the local associations to manage registrations twice a year with the introduction of shorter seasons for Children’s Ringette and Flex Ringette?

    Ringette Alberta will have a new system in place to manage registration as early as spring 2019. The system will make it possible for parents to register their children for any of the participation options. Participating local associations can look forward to seamless transactions, including direct deposit of registration fees to their association accounts. 

    Aside from the registration process, volunteers put in a lot of work to take in new participants and form teams just once a year. Why is Ringette Alberta suggesting we do it twice a year?

    Ringette Alberta recognizes the work that volunteers do to get each season up and running, and the decision to offer multiple shorter seasons in Children’s Ringette and Flex Ringette is not made lightly. This decision reflects the needs of the athletes, and it is the right thing to do.

    In Children’s Ringette, players grow, mature and learn at varying rates and times in their lives.  Assessing a child over a couple of hours once per calendar year and placing that child in a program based on this assessment isn’t the best way to ensure that the child is in the right program as they develop over time. The preferred way to ensure a good fit for every child is to give them the opportunity to advance to the ‘next group’ when they’re ready and this can be more than once per year.

    The other benefit of having multiple shorter seasons is that it provides two entry points for new participants and more flexibility for the multi-sport athlete during a critical time in their development.

    Right now children have only one opportunity to join ringette (September), and if their parents miss that opportunity, the child is rarely permitted by associations to join ringette until the next year. Two shorter seasons will provide access in September and January. This will also allow children to go through either a Learn to Skate or Intro to Ringette program in the fall and join ringette in January which helps our registration numbers.

    Ringette Alberta is working with a vendor on a web-based platform to first identify what the most critical attributes to measure at each stage are and what proficiency looks like.  With this established, this platform will capture and track longitudinal data on each indivdidual’s performance making placing them in programs that fit a far easier process than our local association volunteers have to manage today. 

    In Flex Ringette, having two shorter seasons will give players more flexibility in their schedules to accommodate other sports or extracurricular activities—and that will help keep kids in the game. In the past, lack of flexibility was one of the reasons that players would quit ringette entirely.