Tryout Overview

Overall Goal

The overall goal of the entire tryout process at every age level is to find the best team for each player and the best players for each team. We attempt to make the tryout process as fair as possible for all players.

General Description and Information

Ridgefield Amateur Hockey Association (“RAHA”) is a tryout-based organization. Each season, players are evaluated based on their abilities and are then placed on the appropriate team. Player evaluations are one of the most difficult tasks for a youth hockey association to perform. Often, the margin between players is very thin. Thus, the ultimate aim of the tryout process is to provide sufficient opportunities for coaches and the independent evaluator to thoroughly evaluate each player's abilities.

The independent evaluator will provide objective evaluations of all players to the coaches and each age level’s two age level directors. The age specific coaches will pick the teams. However, the age level directors, who are by proxy acting for the full Board of Directors, must approve each team roster. Age level directors have final roster approval authority. If there is an issue that the age level directors and coaches cannot resolve, it will be taken to the full Board for a decision.


Timing and Format for Evaluations/Tryouts

Due to various considerations, RAHA holds evaluations and tryouts in the spring for Mites, Squirts, Peewees, and Bantams. The tryout/evaluation format is a combination of skills, small area games and scrimmages across multiple sessions.

Basic requirements (Bantams, Peewees, Squirts and Mites)

Prior to being allowed on the ice for tryouts, all players must:   

  • Register and pay the tryout fee
  • Make a tuition deposit (checks only) at check-in
  • Submit registration paperwork
  • Be in good standing with RAHA, if a returning player

Players will be assigned a pinnie at the registration/check-in desk on the first day of tryouts. The pinnie number will have no significance to the player's ability, rating, or placement. The pinnie number must be fully visible to the evaluators while the player is on the ice. Goalies should have the number side of the pinnie in front.

If a player is offered a position on a team, he or she has 24 hours to accept that position. If the player chooses not to accept, his or her tuition deposit will be returned.

Key Personnel in the Tryout Process (Bantams, Peewees, Squirts and Mites)

Age level directors

Two board members who do not have children playing at a particular level will be assigned as that level’s age level directors. The age level directors will facilitate evaluations, gather all data specific to player placement, and present proposed teams. They have ultimate authority on roster approval.


RAHA age level head coaches will (collectively) choose all players for the age level teams.

All age level coaches will be on the ice for all tryout sessions. Player selections will represent a consensus of the age level coaches.

Independent evaluator

An independent evaluator will participate in the process to provide objective feedback to the coaches and the Age Level Director.

The selection pool of potential independent evaluators may include, but is not limited to, high school and college coaches, coaches from other organizations, and other individuals with thorough knowledge of hockey.

The evaluator will be independent in that he or she will not have children participating in the tryouts or any other personal interest in the outcomes. 

Additional Information

Team size

  • The target team size for Squirts, Peewees, and Bantams is 11-14 skaters and 1-2 goalies.
  • However, there is no requirement that a team have this number of players. Coaches and age level directors will determine each individual team’s size, with input from the independent evaluator. The number of skaters will be determined based on the skill level of each player and the potential for each player to compete at the level of the team.

Evaluation scoring

The evaluator, working independently, will score each player on the level of his or her performance during the sessions. The evaluator is instructed to rate players using a standardized system, with an overall score incorporating all of the following:

  1. Skating skills
  2. Hockey/puck skills
  3. Teamwork/situational skills
  4. Hockey concepts (IQ)

The most difficult component of the try-out process is placement of “bubble” players (players who are bunched around the margin to two levels). These selections will be made with assistance of prior year coaches who can provide insight to the following criteria:

  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Consistent effort
  • Consistent attendance (practices/games)
  • Disciplinary, behavioral, and maturity considerations


Policy regarding second-year players in a level

All players will be placed according to their ability and evaluation performance, regardless of the team on which they played during the prior season.


Players who miss evaluations

Players who do not attend evaluations are generally limited to the lowest available travel team as roster space permits. A player who is unable to attend the evaluations due to extenuating circumstances (for example, due to an injury or relocation) may be considered for travel team selection at any level through evaluation during age-level appropriate practices, and may be placed on a team by approval of the Board. Former coaches, assistant coaches, directors, and others may be consulted to determine proper placement for that player.

Notification of player placements

Notification of player placements will occur as early as possible following adequate time for evaluators and coaches to review all assessment data. Final team selections will be posted on our website by pinnie number, and/or an email will be sent to parents regarding player placement.


Ideally, RAHA will never have to make any cuts and all players will be happy with their teams. Unfortunately, in some circumstances cuts will be deemed necessary. Any player who is not offered a position on a travel team will receive a full refund of his or her deposit (minus tryout fee).


Due to the developmental nature of the Mite program and the integration with the American Development Model, the Mite evaluation process begins in the spring and continues in the fall. Evaluations will be continuously made by all Mite coaches throughout September and October, and each player will be grouped with players of similar ability (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced). There may be continuous movement of players between groups based on the pace of their development. In the fall, initial cross-ice rosters will be made. These are flexible, and can change anytime before December based on the development of each player as determined by all Mite coaches. In December, the rosters for Mite teams will be finalized.

Questions and Concerns

In order to keep the process fair and transparent, please do not contact or intercede with any of the head coaches or evaluators regarding specific player issues related to try-outs.

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