Tryout Overview

Overall Goal

The overall goal of the tryout process is to provide a thorough, objective, and transparent tryout for all participants with the intent to have players placed on the best teams for their skillset. Utilizing a multi-pronged approach including coaches & independent evaluators assessing talent, leveraging cutting edge technology, along with feedback from prior seasons coaches our goal is to leave tryouts with a clear understanding of each players skillset on and off the ice. 

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 evaluators to thoroughly evaluate each player's abilities.

The independent evaluators 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.

Birth Years 2006 - 2008

  • Midgets (U16 & U18)

Birth Years 2010 - 2011

  • Bantam AA 
  • Bantam A
  • Bantam B

Birth Years 2012-2013

  • Peewee AA 
  • Peewee A
  • Peewee B

Birth Years 2014-2015

  • Squirt AA
  • Squirt A
  • Squirt B 

 Birth Years 2016 & Younger

  • Mite Black
  • Mite White
  • Mite Yellow
  • Jaguars House League

Timing and Format for Evaluations/Tryouts

Due to various considerations, RAHA holds evaluations and tryouts in the spring for Mites, Squirts, Peewees, Bantams, and Midgets.

·     On Ice Evaluations

The on ice tryout/evaluation format is a combination of skills, small area games and scrimmages across multiple sessions.

·     Prior Season Player Evaluations

All returning RAHA players prior seasons evaluations will be provided to the evaluating coaching staff for the tryout period. Our goal for returning players is to ensure those evaluating the tryout have as much data as possible when assessing skills, gameplay, hockey IQ, and soft skills like leadership and cultural contributions.  

·     Team Genius

In 2022 we introduced Team Genius to further support the RAHA tryout process. This technology allows for a more efficient, thorough, and objective tryout for all. All coaches and independent evaluators are trained annually on how to make the most of the software and provide a fair and consistent tryout for all participants. This objective data provides a dataset to identify where players will fit best.   


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 (Midgets, Bantams, Peewees, Squirts and Mites)

Age Level Directors (ALD)

Two board members who do not have children playing at that particular level will be assigned as that level’s age level directors (ALD). The ALD’s 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) will choose all players for the age level teams.

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

Independent Evaluators

Independent evaluators will participate in the process to provide objective feedback to the coaches and the Age Level Directors.

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 is 11-14 skaters and 1-2 goalies while Bantams & Midgets typically carry more. 
  • Please note: 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 evaluators. 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 powered by Team Genius software, with an overall score incorporating all of the following & more:

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)
  • Leadership
  • Disciplinary, behavioral, and maturity considerations


Policy regarding Second-year Players at each age 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.

Missed 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.

While there may be supplemental tryout sessions available, for the benefit of the player trying out, it is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED that all players attend the normal tryout session. Nothing equates to a fully attended tryout.

Notification of Player Placement

Notification of player placement will occur as early as possible following adequate time for evaluators and coaches to review all assessment data. Final team selections will be emailed to the email address on the players profile. All offers expire after 24 hours. 


Ideally, RAHA will not have to make any cuts and all players will be happy with their teams. Unfortunately, in some circumstances cuts will be deemed necessary for player development and safety. 


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 made continuously 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 based on the development of each player as determined by all Mite coaches.

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. Post tryouts, all questions should be directed to the ALD for that players age group.  

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