Zone 2 AA – Background and FAQ
The mission of the Zone 2 AA ringette program is to build strong, confident athletes that are committed to hard work, achieving personal goals and teamwork. Through dedication, commitment and a passion for excellence, we strive to prepare our athletes for the opportunity to compete at the highest levels in the sport.
Since 2012, Ringette Alberta has been trying to increase the opportunity for willing and capable athletes to play more competitive level ringette. The goal was to have 15-18% of athletes playing at the AA level in each age group from U14 – U19.
Based on feedback from families in Zone 2, it was determined there was interest and the talent to make this program happen.
In the summer of 2015 the governing board members from all Zone 2 associations: Airdrie, Cochrane, Hussar, Indus, Rockyford and Strathmore, made the AA program a reality. It was decided two teams would be formed: U14AA and U16AA.
During this process, Zone 2 solicited advice from multiple AA programs and collaborated with Zone 3/Calgary AA to ensure that our program was in harmony with their policies and procedures. The foundation of our Zone 2 AA program is to build strong, confident athletes that are committed to hard work, goal setting and achieving success through teamwork.
In 2018, the Zone 2 AA program recognized the desire for a third team at the U19AA level. With commitment from the board, families and athletes the U19 team played its first season in 2018-2019.
Currently we run very competitive programs for all three teams with focus on individual and team skills, as well as team and game strategies. Our goal is to be competitive at Provincial Championship, Western Canadian Championship, and National Championship levels.
Q) Why start an AA program in Zone 2?
A) In 2015, 3 additional U14AA teams were added in the province; one in Calgary, one in Edmonton and our new Zone 2 team. This meant that all zones had to adjust, including the U14 A and B programs. This was the perfect opportunity for Zone 2 to join the mix. The Zone 2 AA teams give our athletes better opportunity to play at this competitive level. The success of our program at U14 and U16 AA levels led to the creation of a U19AA team in 2018.
Q) Are Zone 2 AA teams competitive against other established AA teams?
A) Zone 2AA has developed significantly since the program began. We host a very competitive and successful program when measured up against other AA programs in the province and throughout Canada. In our short existence our teams have seen such successes as winning the Esso Golden Ring twice, winning Team Alberta titles twice, winning a Western Canadian Championship and placing in the top 6 twice at the National Ringette Championships. All three teams have won numerous gold medals at tournaments across Canada. We are definitely competitive.
Q) Can Zone 2 players try out for the Calgary AA teams?
A) The Zone 2 AA board works closely with the Calgary AA board to ensure players are trying out where they are supposed to. If your athlete resides within the Zone 2 boundaries and has the desire to play AA ringette, you are expected to try out with the Zone 2 AA program. Players living within the Calgary boundaries are expected to try out with Calgary AA teams.
Q) If Zone 2 associations lose players to AA, will these associations struggle to field teams?
A) Zone 2 associations already work together to create joint teams when possible to ensure that all players have an opportunity to play at the appropriate level. As a Zone, we feel it is important to provide opportunities for athletes to play at all levels of competition and commitment as best we can. By having the AA teams at the zone level, the loss of players ranges between 1-7 players per age division. Our home associations are still fielding strong, competitive teams.
Q) How much does registration cost?
A) Previous year 2022/2023 registration cost $1200.
Q) How many players per team?
A) A minimum of 13 skaters and a minimum of 1 goalie.
Q) Where will the practices be?
A) Ice times and locations change every season based on availability but often include Airdrie, Chestermere, and Rocky Ridge YMCA on a regular basis.
Q) How many practices per week?
A) On average, there are 2 - 3 ice sessions including power skating and goalie training and 1 team dryland per week.
Q) How much fundraising is involved?
A) Fundraising will depend on the number and location of tournaments each team attends. As well, there may be association fundraisers to be determined at the start of each season.
Q) How can the Zone 2 AA teams help build ringette within the Zone?
A) All Zone 2 associations will have the opportunity to host a home game provided ice is available for the event. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the higher caliber games to the younger age groups. In the past we have hosted development sessions targeted to U12 and U14 athletes.
Q) How does the Zone 2 AA program run?
A) There is an AA association formed within Zone 2 consisting of board members voted on or selected during the AGM held in September each year. Zone 2 AA encourages that the board members be from different associations if possible.
Q) How are the coaches selected?
A) The Zone 2 AA board and coaching selection committee will conduct a thorough selection process including applications and interviews in the spring. Spring coach selection is dependant on suitable applicants for our program. Once teams are named in the fall, the head coach and the Zone 2 AA board work together on placing assistant coaches on our benches.
Q) When are evaluations held?
A) Evaluations will be held starting in late August and run through early September, possibly over the long weekend. We try our best not to book evaluations over the long weekend. Our goal is to complete our tryouts prior to local association tryouts.
Q) How will evaluations be run?
A) There will be 3 to 4 ice times per age group. Each athlete will receive a minimum of 2 ice times that include skating, passing, shooting drills and game evaluation. Each goalie will receive a minimum of 2 ice times which will include goalie specific drills and game evaluation. First cuts will be made after a minimum of 2 ice times. All updates during evaluations will be posted on our website.
Q) How will teams be selected?
A) The evaluation committee along with the head coach will select acceptable athletes for each team based on the evaluations. The evaluation committee will include independent, non-parent evaluators who are knowledgeable in the sport. Coaches children are not automatically accepted on the team.
Q) Will there be a cost for evaluations?
A) For 2020/2021 the early bird fee is $150. Registration after the early bird dates is $175.
Q) Do I need to inform my home association of my intent to evaluate for Zone 2 AA?
A) Yes, as per Ringette Alberta policy, you are required to inform your home association on your intentions and when dates of the evaluations will be. Please ensure you also register in your home association.
© 2015 by Big Country Ringette.