Update September 9, 2019:
Ringette Calgary is piloting Flex Ringette this fall for U16 and U19 players in the greater Calgary area with previous ringette experience.
Check out the Calgary program specifics here.
As the name implies, Flex ringette is the most flexible option for youths 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, will be made available for youth in Flex Ringette as deman dictates.
Flex Ringette provides players the option of two shorter seasons (approximately 10 weeks each) rather than one long season. This is to help them fit other sports, school, work or other activities into their schedules. Athletes would be able to register for one or both seasons.
Depending on the community and interest, Flex Ringette will allow for broader age groups than Classic Ringette for 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 summary 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
- The players expect 100% commitment of their 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 (Calgary’s pilot offers one per week)
- Athletess do desire the option of paricipating in a tournament and to register individually, as a group of friends or as a full team. These will be offered as demand dictates.
- No team mandatory practice
Ringette Today – Why Change?
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
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.