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The Pursuit of Excellence program is designed to support the following outcomes:

  • support the development of athletes with long-term high-performance goals
  • help individuals fulfill their potential, whatever that may be
  • help individuals learn and live the athlete lifestyle for future benefit within or outside ringette

Pursuit of Excellence is for athletes who wish to participate in a program that:

  • Offers universal program standards designed to help athletes become their best
  • Requires all involved (athletes, parents, coaches, and support personnel) to commit to and maintain a high-quality, science-based, long-term development process
  • Provides meaningful competition with similarly skilled athletes

The Pursuit of Excellence envrironment is for athletes in the following stages of athlete development:

  • Train to Train (Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence)
  • Train to Compete (Full Time Pursuit of Excellence)
  • Train to Win (High Performance)


Sample assessment resources:

For more on athlete assessment see “How Will Athlete Readiness be Determined” below.

Program Launch

Ringette Alberta will launch the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence, a new athlete and coach development program in the excellence pathway once Ringette Canada finalizes its plan to implement the recommendations from the Competition Review and Restructuring Report. We do not have a timeline for when this may happen.

The Pursuit of Excellence Program will be Alberta’s unique approach to an emerging national effort to embed high quality standards into programs across our sport.

Athlete Application:
When it is time to launch the program, the following will be part of the application process:

  • Athlete Registration
  • Athlete Questionnaire
  • Athlete Code of Conduct
  • Parent / Guardian Code of Conduct

Coach Application:
Coaches will also apply to be part of the program by completing the following:

  • Coach Registration 
  • Coach Questionnaire
  • Coach reference (to be completed by local association)
  • Coach reference (to be completed by athlete from athlete/family)
  • Coach Code of Conduct

The Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence is for athletes in the Train to Train stage of development. This is a part-time program.

The Pursuit of Excellence Program is for athletes in the Train to Compete stage of development and beyond and is a full-time program.

Here is a sample scheule of what the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence Program could look like. 

March – Application Deadline

April– Fitness Testing (Regional)

April – On Ice Skills Assessment (Regional)

May – Notification of Acceptance 

Program Schedule

Camp 1: May 

Camp 2: August (late)

Camp 3: November 

Tournament: December 

Camp 4: January 

Team preparation for WCRC qualifier:
Max. 3 Ice times between mid-Jan and mid-Feb. Regional.

WCRC Qualifier: Late February

Team preparation for WCRC:
Max. 3 Ice times between late Feb and late March. Regional.

WCRC: Late March to early April.

Introduction to Pursuit of excellence

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the eligibility requirements for athletes?

To enroll in the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence program all athletes would be required to meet the following criteria:

  • Eligible for the U14 age division for the period of the program;
  • In good standing with their local ringette association and Ringette Alberta at all times; 
  • A full-time participant on a local ringette association Classic team at all times during the program;
  • Completed application, questionnaire and demonstrated readiness (see below)
  • Agree to the Athlete Code of Conduct and continue to adhere throughout their time in the program
  • Be deemed ready for the program as determined by an independent panel appointed by Ringette Alberta.

    In addition, the athlete’s parent/guardian must:
  • Be in good standing with their local ringette association and Ringette Alberta at all times their child is participating in the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence Program;
  • Agree to the Parent / Guardian Code of Conduct and continue to adhere throughout their time in the program
  • Commit to and maintain program expectations; and
  • Meet volunteer requirements of their local association;
How will athlete readiness be determined?
  • An independent panel appointed by Ringette Alberta will review all components of the intake process which include…
  • Application and Questionnaire
    • Age-appropriate questions designed to encourage the athlete to reflect on and why they believe this program is a good fit for them. 
    • An insufficient attempt at completing the questionnaire may disqualify the athlete from further steps in the intake process
  • On ice Assessment
    • Goaltenders:
      • Distribution – 20 rings, 4 targets
      • Rebound control – 10 shots
      • Iron Cross
      • Shuffle
      • Sprint
      • Breakaway
  • Non-Goaltenders will complete the standard Universal Athlete Assessment
      • Forward speed test with ring pickup
      • Forward speed test (no ring)
      • Backward speed test (no ring)
      • Agility weave with ring
      • Stop & start side to side
      • Butterfly agility skate
  • Compete Assessment 
    • Game-like, controlled drills
Who are the people doing the assessment?

 We are committed to finding the most qualified and experienced evaluators available to us.  

How many athletes will be accepted into the program?

As many as are deemed ready

What will the program look like for goaltenders?
  • Deliberate and active inclusion of goaltenders in regular training sessions rather than afterthoughts in drill design
  • Dedicated on ice and off ice goaltender training
What will the qualifications be for coaches in the program?


  • Competition Introduction (CI) Trained with a commitment to completing the Competition Introduction Evaluation during the season.
  • Have a minimum of 2 years coaching experience in ringette.
  • Member in good standing with their local ringette association and Ringette Alberta
  • Agreed to and continue to adhere to the Coach Code of Conduct throughout their time in the program
  • Coach a Classic Team with your Local Association during the season or meet other approved coach related volunteer requirements determined by your Local Association.

The application will include:

  1. Application and Questionnaire designed to have the coach reflect on and share their strengths, weaknesses, what they hope to get out of this program, and what they bring to the program.
  2. References 
  3. Criminal records check (verified through the reference check process)

If the number of applications exceeds the number of team staff positions the program is able to offer while still running a beneficial program for our accepted coaches, applicants may be asked to participate in an interview with a selection panel.

Will the athletes who are accepted into the program be tiered?

One of the principles of this program is to support meaningful competition which means creating homogeneous groups.  So, tiering may occur but we won’t know exactly what this looks like until after the athlete intake process is complete and we assess the relative performance of the athletes in the program. 

What will Coach Development Look Like?

Coaches will fill two primary roles while in this program. 

  1. They will be student coaches.
  2. They will assist the leadership team with the delivery of the program in the camp settings and, under the guidance of the leadership team, function as team coaches when teams are formed later in the season. 


  • Preparation
    • Attend virtual sessions with the program leaders to go over the objectives for the camp, athlete progressions, role of coaches, etc.
  • Delivery
    • In earlier camps, coaches will take a secondary role to the leadership team and support drill execution
    • In later camps, coaches will take on the primary role of camp delivery under the guidance of the program leadership team. 
  • Post Camp
    • There will a debrief after each camp

Between Camps

  • Coaches will participate in virtual sessions with program leaders in a community of coaches environment where coaches can ask questions and get answers that help them support their Classic Ringette teams and add to their coaching repertoire which will help them if they wish to coach in the full time Pursuit of Excellence environment in the future.

Team Formation and Preparation

  • Under the guidance of the leadership team, teams are formed and coaches are supported in the preparation of their teams for end of season qualifications and competition.
How will Ringette Alberta avoid scheduling conflicts

The draft schedule of activities will be built to avoid the traditional times local associations host touraments that include U14 teams.

Proactively, Ringette Alberta will work with the Chinook and Black Gold Leagues and local ringette associations to minimize conflicts between this program and the U14 Classic program.

The goal is to respect the Classic program schedule while allowing those enrolled in this program to take part in all scheduled activities. The overall volume of activity within the U14 Classic programs will not change and U14 players in the Classic program will not get “less” provided there is cooperation on the part of the leagues and local associations.

The schedule for Intro to POE team preparation activities that takes place the end of the season will be determined prior to any U14 Classic teams and their schedules being established. This schedule will be built once Ringette Alberta knows how many athletes in each region are accepted into the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence Program. 

Why don't you make this a full time program?

Recommendation #46 from the Ringette Canada Competition Review and Restructuring Report means there should be no U14AA “programs” whatsoever,  we are trying to create a way to maintain some elements of a program and not eliminate this opportunity entirely.

Additionally, making this a full time program would have damaging inpact on local association Classic programs.

We’re trying to find a balance.


What research has been used in developing this program?

There has been an immeasurable amount of related research that was used to develop the Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Development Framework.  That Framework is the basis for ringette’s long term athlete development framework which underpins this program.

Additionally, two different qualitative research studies were conducted to hear from the athletes; one in Alberta (2018) and one nationally (2021). The outcome from those studies supports the decision to implement this program (and others).

Are you getting rid of AA?


AA will be a tier within the Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence Program, however, it will look different than what people are used to.

Will each association have an Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence program?

This program will be run out of appropriate geographically-based hubs (with supporting satellite programming) based in the community, with the full involvement of community coaches.

Not every association that is a Member of Ringette Alberta will operate a Pursuit of Excellence Program.

When will team formation occur and with these teams by formed by skill?

Throughout the program, there will be constant monitoring of the relative performance of the athletes and they will be grouped accordingly so every athlete is challenged. Of course this isn’t a exact science so adjustments will be ongoing through the program.

Teams will be formed in the second half of the annual cycle.  For team formation, we’ll first determine if there is a sufficient spread of relative performance to require tiering.  If that is the case, which we assume it will be, once tiered, teams within a tier will be balanced for close competition.

What happens if there is a skewed ratio of skater to goaltenders deemed ready for the program. For example 50 skaters and 10 goalies? Or 200 skaters and 4 goalies?

It is possiible numbers may not reflect the perfect distribution of goaltenders to skaters. A solution will be determined once we know how many athletes are enrolled. We can’t provide a more definitive answer now. 


Will existing AA teams be permitted to run in parallel to this program?

No. AA teams will be created within this program.

How will tiering be handled to ensure the athletes have an appropriate level of play and competitive equity is supported?

The simple answer is associations described below create more balanced A teams: 

  • Bow View +1
  • South Calgary +1
  • Northwest +1
  • Associations in Zone 2 work together +1
  • Associatons in Cenral Alberta work together +1
  • Edmonton +1
  • St. Albert +1
  • Sherwood Park +1
  • Spruce Grove +1


Will the level of competition in the associations remain the same as current A, B and C?

We expect to see a moderate increase at A and a slight increase at B.  

There is a possibility of a few more A teams in 2022-23 than 2021-22

Who is monitoring and ensuring standards and policies are followed?

Ultimately, Ringette Canada will formalize the standards for all programs across Canada and it will determine the monitoring process.  For now, Ringette Alberta is operating this program and is ensuring quality standards are met. 

What will the athlete to coach ratio be in this program?

We can’t provide an exact ratio at this time until we see how many athletes and coaches are enrolled in the program however, be asured, there will be an appropriate ratio.

This question appears to be coming from some who observed the “experience camp” that was run in Calgary.  Due to COVID infections and close contacts, the athlete to coach ratio was significantly affected.  There were fewer coaches available forcing larger athlete groups to be formed. 

What are the volunteer commitments?

Parents / guardians will be required to meet the volunteer commitments that are normally expected within their home association.

How will the program work for athletes who live rurally, or outside Edmonton and Calgary?

The Introduction to Pursuit of Excellence is operated in a camp setting to make it easier for athletes outside the Edmonton / Calgary areas to participate. Because the bulk of the athletes in Alberta live in the two major urban centres in the province, the camps will be held in or near these areas. Later in the season, there will be some region-based team preparation. 

Once we determine how many athletes and coaches from outside the two major urban centres are participating in the program, we will work with them to implement solutions to make the program as accessible as possible.

How will the Western Canadian Ringette Championships (WCRC) work relative to the INtro to Pursuit of Excellence Program

That is ultimately up the the Western Canadian Ringette Championship Governing Committee, which includes all four western provinces. 

Our hope is that, as other provinces roll out their programs, modifications to WCRC will be made at the same time. 

What further changes can we expect in the 2023-24 season?

For U14, we will evaluate and make appropriate adjustments.  

What is included and what is the cost?

If it is listed below, it is included in the costs.  If it isn’t listed, it is not included.  The exact cost will be determined based on the costs of things like ice at the time the program is launched.

Athlete Program


    • fitness assessment
    • skating assessment
    • compete drills assessment

$65 Estimate


    • High quality, progressive instruction lead by some of the best ringette coaches in Canada
    • *36 ice sessions (goaltenders 40).  Ice slots will vary between 60 and 75 minutes. 
    • *12 off ice sessions ranging from 60-90 minutes per session
    • Stage-appropriate fitness program
    • 5 additional ice sessions for team preparation once teams are formed

*may vary slightly based on facility access

$975 Estimate

Coach Program $0


Ringette Alberta will facilitate a fundraising opportunity to cover costs that aren’t included.

What apparel / uniforms will be worn in this program?

All athletes and coaches will receive a standard kit containing Pursuit of Excellence branded apparel.

Ringette Alberta will provide athletes jerseys for games and pinnies for practice. Guidelines on what is appropriate apparel for off ice activities will be provided.

To control costs and keep the program financially accessible to most, no additional apparel will be avaiable for purchase.

What does this mean for U16 and U19?

 The U16 and U19 (and hopefully U21) programs are full time

  • Athletes will participate full time in this program.
  • Teams will be formed much earlier in the program (compared to Intro to POE)
  • All athletes will earn admittance according to a provincial standard and process
  • All coaches will earn admittance according to a provincial standard and process
  • Eventually, all programs will be required to meet program standards established by Ringette Canada

Ringette Alberta also wants to alleviate the concerns that current AA team operators may have about their future.  There are a lot of good things happening across the province. Ringette Alberta respects the work you have put in, the time and commitment of your coaches and the successes you have had.  Our intent is to preserve this and work with the stakeholders in the community to build on this.  The essence of these AA operations will continue; they’ll just look a little different.  

What will the travel commitments look like?
  • For fitness, the assessments will be completed at fitness testing locations in many areas of the province therefore travel will be minimal. 
  • For the on ice assessment, there will be north and south locations. Travel to once of these locations is required.  
  • Four times per calendar year, participants will travel to camp locations.  Locations are very likely to be in the Edmonton / Calgary corridor and are a factor of facility access.
  • Later in the season, there will be team preparation on a regional basis, i.e., noth and south, so travel to those locations will be required.
  • Towards the end of the season, teams from this program will participate in a qualification process to determine which teams advance to the Western Canadian Ringette Championship. This is no different than the travel that is required for provincials today. Travel for these qualification games is required.
  • Qualified Alberta teams will travel to the Western Canadian Ringette Championship.
I have heard there is a separate U14AA "league" being formed independent of RIngette Alberta. What should we know before we decide to join or not?

Ringette Alberta supports every individual’s right to choose the sport program that meets their needs.

The following is provided so individuals have all crucial information, as it relates to access to Ringette Alberta and Ringette Canada programs and services in the future, when they are making their decision.

Individuals / teams who are not registered with Ringette Alberta are not eligible to…

  • use Ringette Canada certified officials
  • compete against teams registered with Ringette Alberta
  • participate in Ringette Alberta sanctioned exhibition games
  • participate in Ringette Alberta sanctioned league play
  • participate in Ringette Alberta sanctioned tournaments
  • participate in Ringette Alberta playdowns or provincial championships
  • participate in Ringette Alberta Challenge
  • participate in Ringette Alberta Cup
  • participate in the Alberta Winter Games
  • participate in the Canada Winter Games
  • participate in the Western Canadian Ringette Championship
  • participate in the Canadian Ringette Championship
  • participate in any tournament sanctioned by another Member of Ringette Canada
  • participate in any Ringette Canada athlete development program
  • participate in any Ringette Canada high performance program or team
  • access Ringette Alberta or Ringette Canada scholarship programs
  • receive liability and accident benefits through Ringette Canada’s insurance program

Ringette Today – Why Change?

As part of Ringette Canada’s High Performance Summit, a background document, Current State of High Performance Ringette in Canada was produced. The document’s introduction articulates the state of High Performance Ringette in Canada:

There has been no clear definition of High Performance Ringette in Canada. From one province to the other, from one conversation to the next, the agreement as to ‘who is part of High Performance Ringette in Canada?’ is never reached. Additionally, athletes competing at the same level and part of the same development phase are not being given the same daily training opportunities from one area of the country to the other. How is it that programs built to achieve the same goals have such varying structures and priorities?

With Alberta, there is little recognition (and ownership) of the need for local programs to align with the goal of preparing athletes to enter Ringette Canada’s High Performance Programs or simply to become their best, whatever that may be. In a 2016 survey of AA clubs in Alberta, only one indicated it felt any responsibility to contribute to the success of Ringette Canada’s national teams through athlete development in the years preceding the athlete trying out for a national team program.

Talent ID vs Talent Development

Underlying the transition from today’s AA ringette to a true Pursuit of Excellence environment is the need for us to shift from a talent ID model to a talent development model. The notion that we can “see talent” in children as young as 12 years of age, or younger, is not supported by the research. We can only observe performance at a given moment in time which is, particularly for developing athletes, a poor indiciation of ultimate potential.

Below is a podcast (in two parts) featuring Dr. Joseph Baker from Canada’s York University, who is one of the world’s leading researchers on talent identification and development in sport. The podcast is called Coach Your Best and can be found at the links below or on Apple podcasts.

Talent Identification and Development in Sport (Part 1)

Click here to listen to Part 1 (27 mins)

Talent Identification and Development in Sport (Part 2)

Click here to listen to Part 2 (35 mins)

Example of Talent ID vs Talent Development

This is an example of what the Talent ID model might look vs the Talent Development model.

These numbers are for illustrative purposes only.

Talent ID Model Talent Development Model
Total athletes interested in the program 100 100
Teams: Number & Tier Predetermined: 2 AA teams 

The number of teams at specific teirs is not pre-determined.

Assessment Criteria Unknown.
Unique to each organization/coach.
Informed by the Athlete Development Matrix (ADM) and used across the Excellence Program, a “readiness” threshold is determined.
Athletes Included 30 (two teams x 15 players each) 60 deemed to have met or exceeded the readiness threshold
Athletes Excluded 70 players cut from the team
Feedback to athletes unknown
40 are deemed not ready for the program yet. They are provided feedback to understand where they can improve and encouraged to return if they do the work.
Tiering and Competition Both teams designated AA
No standard definition of AA
Meaningful competition is unknown
45 deemed appropriate for Train-to-Train Late, e.g., AA
15 deemed appropriate for Train-to-Train Early, e.g., A
Homogeneous groups formed to increase the likelihood of meaningful competition