Updated May 7, 2019. Flex Ringette implementation is being explored by Ringette Calgary for the 2019-20 season. No other associations have expressed interest in providing Flex Ringette at this time.
This will be the most flexible ringette experience for youth and adults.
It allows athletes to stay in the game, play as part of a team and compete, while only having to commit to one game approximately every 7-10 days. They will also have the option of registering to participate in a tournament as an individual, a group of friends, or as an entire team. This model is already in place in adult ringette, more or less, in the form of the highly successful Ringette in the Rockies. The same approach, but age appropriate, could be made available for youth in Flex Ringette.
It is proposed that Flex Ringette include two shorter seasons (approximately 10-13 weeks each) rather than one long season. Athletes would be able to register for one, the other, or both, depending on how ringette fits into their schedule and level of interest.
Flex Ringette could also allow for broader age groups that what Classic Ringette would have to allow more flexibility for friends to play together and ensure that the Flex option is viable were there may be not enough demand to run teams according to the current age groups.
The following sumjmary of the key principles of Flex Ringette is based on input from athlete in the focus group (qualitative) research conducted in 2018 by Johnston Research. Any associations considering offering Flex Ringette should respect these principles to reflect what the athletes want and therefore have programs more likely to be successful.
- Flex is not drop in
- Athletes expect 100% commitment of teammates (just like in Classic or Excellence) but to just less ringette than Classic or Excellence
- Athletes want two shorter seasons with option to register in one or both
- One game every 7-10 days
- Tournament participation desired – individual, group of friends, full team
- No team mandatory practice
Ringette Today – Why Change?
Generally, for youth in Alberta today, there are few opportunities to participate in ringette programs that offer sufficient flexibility to allow them to also balance other priorities such as other sports or activities, school, employment, etc., with ringette.
The majority of athletes who have left ringette as teens tell us that they would have stayed in the game if there was an opportunity to play on an organized team but with greater flexibility – fewer games and allowances to miss or not practice.
Flex Ringette in the Future
We’re introducing Flex Ringette.
Flexibility reflects the key attribute of this option that will attract and retain players who can’t or don’t want to commit as much to ringette as some of their peers.
For youth in particular, Flex Ringette will give them an option to stay in the game during a time when there is drastic drop out of sport, particularly for females.
More to Explore
Before we can launch Flex Ringette, there are important questions to be answered. In addition to what’s below, what other factors should be considered?
- What is the demand from community to community?
- How will this impact volunteers? The current core of volunteers can’t be expected to do more. Would the parents (of youth Flex participants) step up?
- What are the implications for ice?