Children’s Ringette refers to all programs up to and including U10 and U12 programs introducing participants to the sport for the first time.
The Children’s Ringette initiative represents a concerted effort to make adjustments to ringette practices and competitions to meet the needs of children, while promoting a fun, safe and healthy environment which supports the development of physical literacy and the long-term development of all players.
Over the course of the coming seasons, a number of positive changes will be introduced including scaling the game down through the implementation of small-area games (cross-ice and half-ice ringette) and grouping participants by developmental stages rather than chronological ages.
Beginning in the 2019-20 season, all games for players under the age of 8 years old (U8 category) should be played on an area that does not exceed half the ice surface.
This change will be introduced at the U9 and U10 levels in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons respectively. If able, provinces and associations are encouraged to make this transition earlier.
Children’s Ringette Guidelines
The Children’s Ringette Guidelines intend to serve as a framework to structure Children’s Ringette programs across the country for the 2019-20 season and beyond. All local ringette associations at the U8 level and below should be implementing small-area games and are strongly encouraged to implement as many of the guidelines as possible for the 2019-20 season. These guidelines should inform future programming decisions at the local and provincial levels as the ideal to strive towards; however, it is imperative to remain flexible and adapt to the realities of your organization.
Small-area games support development by scaling the game to the size of participants. Benefits of small-area games include:
- Each player being able to spend more time with the ring, leading to improved ring control, passing and shooting skills
- More opportunities to apply practiced skills
- More opportunities to accelerate/decelerate and change directions reinforcing fundamental skating skills
- Smaller nets provide an appropriate challenge for skaters and goalies
By changing the format of games, we hope to also influence the way practices are run. In essence, we’re changing the “test” games to better support development so that coaches who “teach to the test” will focus more on the right skills.
- Each provincial ringette organization is responsible for setting their own implementation timeline. Many are moving forward faster than the national timeline. Please see the Provincial Implementation tab for an overview of each provincial ringette organization’s key activities and plans in regards to Children’s Ringette.
- Small-area games were piloted across the country during the 2018/19 season, with small differences in order to identify best practices for game design. Differences included:
- Size of the playing surface (not to exceed half the ice surface)
- Number of players on the ice
- Size of nets
- Goaltending options (no goalie, rotating goalie, designated goalie)
- Modified rules, including number of passes, shift lengths etc.
- Feedback from the pilot programs was collected via focus groups as well as surveys from 503 players, 230 parents and 63 coaches. This feedback helped shape the Children’s Ringette Guidelines and will continue to inform the development of future resources.
- The Children’s Ringette initiative continues to grow with national implementation of small-area games at the U8 level and below for the 2019-20 season
The following is an overview of each provincial ringette organization key activities and plans in regards to Children’s Ringette. For more specifics about what is happening in your province/community please contact your provincial organization’s Children’s Ringette Lead.
Ringette British Columbia has launched a new Children’s Ringette Program with two divisions, FUNdamentals 1 and FUNdamentals 2 in place of existing U7 and U9 programs. Players are placed into divisions based on their individual skill and readiness rather than strictly age based teams.
Lead: Hannah Woodman (email@example.com)
Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Ringette Alberta has required local associations to acquire appropriately sized nets.
In 2019-20, Ringette Alberta is beginning to phase in small-area games starting with Active Start and U10 Step 1 teams.
Lead: David Myers, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Ringette Saskatchewan will be consulting with our local associations to have them review the Children’s Ringette Guidelines first and foremost with us, then work together to develop key action items and strategies so we can fully implement Ringette Canada’s mandate for the 2020/21 season with all U9 players and below using small-area games.
Lead: Carrie Livingstone (email@example.com)
Ringette Manitoba was the first provincial organization to formally move to small-area games, when they launched the Ringette4U program in 2014. They will be continuing to offer this program in 2018-19 and beyond, while participating in the national effort to gather feedback about programs being offered and build consistency in developmental outcomes.
Ringette4U is an instructor-led ringette program focused on developing athletic abilities in children aged 3-8. Participants progress through a series of levels, identified by colours based on their skill development. A rural version allows for programs with lower numbers to be combined into a single program offering.
Lead: Melanie Reimer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ringette Ontario will be working with its members to develop a plan to adopt small-area games province wide starting in the 2020-2021 season. This season, pilot programs will run in associations to test the use of small-area games and will gather feedback on different game formats in support of Ringette Ontario’s planning efforts.
Lead: Karla Xavier (email@example.com)
Lead: Marie-Lyne Fortin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ringette Nova Scotia is collaborating with ringette organizations within the Halifax Regional Municipality to run a supplementary program where players will be exposed to each game format twice over the course of the season. Sessions will be running in a loop starting in November 2018, with two organizations in attendance at each session and each organization experiencing the format twice.
Website: None at this time
Ringette PEI will be continuing to run all events for U8 players with small-area games for the 2019-20 season.
Lead: Nicholas Longaphy (email@example.com)
The choice of format ultimately depends on the number of players, number of teams, skill level and equipement/ice time available. Coaches and local associations are encouraged to choose from the options available, based on what works best in their setting.
If your association is offering a program which includes small-area games during the 2018-2019 season, we are interested in receiving your feedback. We ask you to please contact Erin Van Gulik at firstname.lastname@example.org
Coaching small-area games is not much different than coaching a traditional game and players will quickly adjust. Here are some tricks to help you prepare.
- Use small-area games in practice, don’t wait for a tournament
- Start with simple rules that reinforce skill development and promote inclusiveness, then build on them. For example, every player must touch the ring, then make three passes before taking a shot etc.
- Get quickly into action, then provide feedback
- Keep it fun and be creative
Divide the ice into two, three, four or more sections, with sections dedicated to skills and others to small-area game. Choose game rules that reinforce the skills that you are teaching during the practice.