Youth travel hockey program playing out of Winter Garden Ice Arena, Ridgefield, CT

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Tuition rates for 2018-19 season
The Board of Directors has set the tuition rates for the 2018-19...
Tryout Overview for Mites, Squirts, Peewees and Bantams
0 0 1 2081 11864 Jane Hoeffner 98 27 ...
Midget registration now open for Tier 2 U16 and U18 teams
Registration is now open for RAHA’s U16 and U18 Midget...
Congratulations to Squirt B, Tier 4 State Champs!
Congratulations to our Squirt B team, State Champions in the Tier...
RAHA named Best Youth Sports Program by Ridgefield Magazine
We are thrilled and gratified that the readers of Ridgefield...
2018-19 Tryout dates and times
Tryouts for the 2018-19 season will be held on the following dates...
Save the date for 2018-19 tryouts
Please mark your calendars for tryouts for the 2018-19 season: Bantams...
Tuition rates for 2018-19 season

The Board of Directors has set the tuition rates for the 2018-19 season:

Mites: $2,600
Squirts, Peewees, and Bantams (including goalies): $3,950

The increase in tuition ($350 for Mites and $200 for older players) reflects an increase in coaching salaries, an increase in the cost of our off-ice program, and enhancements to our goalie program, which will be outsourced to ProCrease for the entire season, along with a staff of dedicated professional goalie coaches. We are also purchasing more ice than in previous seasons. These are incremental enhacements that are a part of overall multiyear improvements. We have made every attempt to avoid the increase, but we refuse to compromise on the quality of our program, which includes smaller teams and more ice time per team than the majority of local programs. We believe you will agree that RAHA’s commitment to quality should not be sacrificed.

On your first day of tryouts, please bring a check for your tuition deposit ($1,500 for Mites, $2,000 for Squirts through Bantams.) If, at the end of tryouts, you accept your player’s team placement, the check will be cashed as the first payment toward the 2018-19 tuition. If you decline your player’s team assignment, the check will be returned to you or destroyed. The second and final tuition payment ($1,100 for Mites and $1,950 for older players) is due August 15 and must be paid by check. 

Should you have any questions regarding our tuition, please contact the co-presidents, Jane Hoeffner and Dennis Bishop (; or our treasurer, Patrick Walsh ( Thank you for understanding that this tuition increase means that we can continue to maintain the superior standard of our program for the coming season.

by posted 03/18/2018
Tryout Overview for Mites, Squirts, Peewees and Bantams


For Mites, Squirts, PeeWees and Bantams

2018-19 Season

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 2018-19 RAHA tryouts will be conducted by the Tryout Committee (as detailed below) comprising age level directors, age level coaches and an independent evaluator for both players and goalies (Squirts through Bantams). The RAHA Board of Directors will determine the number of teams at each level and players will be placed on a team based upon the evaluation process described below.


The independent evaluators will provide objective evaluations of all players to the coaches and each age level’s age level directors. The age level coaches will pick the teams based on the tryout evaluations, evaluations from the prior year coach when available, positional and other needs of the team and other factors such as attitude and “coachability” and as further detailed below.  Age level directors will provide process oversight while the independent evaluator will provide tryout rating oversight.  If there is an issue that the age level directors, independent evaluator and coaches cannot resolve, it will be taken to the full Board for a decision.


Timing and Format for 2018-19 Tryouts


RAHA will hold tryouts in the spring for Mites, Squirts, Peewees, and Bantams. The tryout format will be 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 (this does not include the tryout fee which is nonrefundable).


Key Personnel (Tryout Committee) in the Tryout Process

(Mites through Bantams)

Age Level Directors


At least 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 provide process oversight.  The 2018-19 Age Level Directors are:

Bantams – Dennis Bishop (, Eric Presbrey (, Paul Signorelli (, Patrick Walsh (


PeeWees – Jane Hoeffner (, Hilary Kao (, Kevin White (


Squirts – Ross Graber (, Ken Silliman (


Mites – Michael Luft (, Tom McNicholas (




RAHA age level head coaches will collectively choose all players for the age level teams.
All age level coaches will be in attendance for the tryout sessions. Player selections will represent a consensus of the age level coaches.


Independent Evaluators


An independent evaluator for both players and goalies will participate in the process to provide objective feedback to the coaches and the Age Level Director (Squirts through Bantams).  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 Bantams is up to 16 skaters per team.


·         The target team size for PeeWees is 11 to 14 skaters per team.


·         The target team size for Squirts is 10 to 12 skaters per team.


·         The target team size for Mites is 8 to 12 skaters per team.


·         However, there is no requirement that a team have the above detailed number of players. Coaches and age level directors will determine each individual team’s size, with input from the independent evaluator and age level directors. Consideration will also be given to the minimum skill level necessary to compete at each level of play.


·         RAHA will field as many teams as tryout registrations (and placement offer acceptances) and skill levels permit (Squirts through Bantams). While RAHA endeavors to field four teams at each level, this may not be achievable due to the number and skill level of players as noted above. 

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:


      Skating skills

●      Hockey/puck skills

●      Teamwork/situational skills

●      Hockey concepts (Hockey IQ)


Although not rated numerically, other factors may also be taken into consideration in making player placements such as the following:


·         Ability to follow instructions

·         Consistent effort

·         Consistent attendance (practices/games)

·         Disciplinary, behavioral, and maturity considerations


At the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, RAHA team head coaches will provide player evaluations for all players based on performance during the 2017-18 season.  These evaluations are based on the same standardized system used during tryouts and may be taken into consideration during the player placement process.

Policy Regarding Second-Year Players in an Age Level

All players will be placed according to their ability and tryout evaluation as set forth above, regardless of the team on which they played during the prior season.  We are hopeful that every player in RAHA will continue to skate year in and year out to develop long-lasting friendships with their teammates.  Furthermore, we recognize that every player is unique and his or her development curve may jump ahead or lag behind his or her peers. 


With this in mind, the Tryout Committee will try to acknowledge the forward progress of each skater for the next season, but in some instances, that will not be possible and a player may remain stationary or in some instances drop back.   Player placement is not lockstep from year-to-year.   For example, Returning A players are not guaranteed AA placements.  No skater or goalie is presumed to have his or her “spot” for any team next season regardless of whether he or she is returning to the same level or moving up because of his or her age.

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 in accordance with the Post Tryout Policy below and 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 evaluation 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 (this does not include the tryout fee which is nonrefundable).



Due to the developmental nature of the Mite program and the integration with the American Develop 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 any time 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.


Special Provisions Re: Goalies

In addition to participating in the scrimmages and other tryout activities attended by all RAHA skaters, goalies will be asked to participate in a special ice session for goalies only.  There, they will be evaluated by one or more goalie evaluators (Goalie Evaluation).  In addition, the goalies will be evaluated by an independent evaluator (Squirts through Bantams) and the age level coaches based on their performances in the tryout scrimmages and other tryout activities.  The age level coaches will select goalies for each teams based on the Goalie Evaluation, tryout evaluations, evaluations from the prior year coach and the other non-numerically rated factors referenced above. 


Because commitment is a particularly important factor at the goalie level, prior year coaches’ evaluations will also be considered when possible. The Tryout Committee will consult with the goalie evaluators as it deems appropriate.  Where the number of goalies exceeds the number of teams, age level director will discuss the situation with goalies’ parents to discuss the best outcomes.

Post Tryout Policy

After tryouts have occurred, players wishing to join RAHA will be accommodated to the extent possible.  However, RAHA is under no obligation to offer such players a roster position. The Board will consider roster additions to the team determined appropriate given a player’s skills and only if the existing roster size permits an addition.  This may mean that RAHA will be unable to accommodate a player after tryouts.  All such post-tryout accommodations for late registrants will be done first with the best interests of the players and the coaches of the set teams, and then with the individual late registrant in mind. 


Questions and Concerns


In order to keep the process fair and transparent, please do not contact or intercede with any of the coaches, evaluators, or age level directors regarding specific player issues related to tryouts, as that type of communication undermines the integrity of the process.


Prior to and during tryouts, please direct any inquiries, questions or concerns regarding the tryout process to the applicable age level directors (email addresses provided above).  Following tryouts, please direct any inquiries, questions or concerns regarding player placements to Dennis Bishop, RAHA President, Hockey Operations (dbishop ). In addition, please contact Dennis if your player will not be able to make one or more of the tryout sessions.


A Note to Parents

•      Help your child deal constructively with the evaluation and placement process. Your encouragement to play hard, and have fun, will do more to promote a long-lived “hockey career” than anything else.

•      Understand that the Tryout Process is inherently imperfect and that there are many elements to the process.  The Tryout Committee must make difficult decisions.  The Board has created what it believes to be a fair process that relies on good, thoughtful, and fair people doing the best they can.


•      As is the case in most youth sports, what particular team level a player plays at as a 7 to 13 year old rarely affects their later years. In fact, in most cases the relative ability ranking of players in a sport changes greatly over these years, so no single placement for a given season should be, nor is, creating a “destiny” for a kid. The high school and college rosters of all sports are filled with players who ranged from A to C players in their “early careers”. The most critical factor for later years is – to still be playing!  


•      RAHA is proudly a “local” program. We value, care, and spend as much time on “C” teams as on “A” teams and believe these distinctions are necessary only to the extent they are needed to determine at what level a team plays at in a given league. They do not determine the “real players” nor very often who will be playing five, 10, or 20 years from now. 



Registration is now available using the "Register Online" button

on the left side of the RAHA home page (

by posted 03/14/2018
Midget registration now open for Tier 2 U16 and U18 teams

Registration is now open for RAHA’s U16 and U18 Midget Teams


Both teams will compete in the Connecticut Hockey Conference, Tier II, split season.  We will skate out of Winter Garden and other area rinks as necessary.  Tryouts will be held at the Winter Garden on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.  Players must register for either 16U or 18U. The tryout fee is $120.  Final tuition will be determined by roster size and there will be a separate fee for uniforms.


Midget U16 (2002 and 2003 Birth Years)

Coach: Michael “Buzzy” Schneider


  • Nationals-eligible, Tier II Team
  • Weekly practices with 2-3 on-ice coaches
  • 20 CHC games, 1-2 per week
  • 1-2 high-level tournaments


Midget U18 (2000 through 2003 Birth Years)

Coach: Dan Feighan


  • Nationals-eligible, Tier II Team
  • No practices, players are encouraged to practice with their high school’s preseason program
  • 20 CHC games, 1-2 per week
  • 1-2 high-level tournaments


Mike “Buzzy” Schneider (U16): Buzzy graduated from Ridgefield High School in 2001, where he played on the varsity ice hockey team for four years. He attended Norwich University in Vermont his freshman year and also attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Buzzy still plays hockey on local men’s teams. In 2017, Buzzy’s Bantam A team won the Tier 2 state tournament and represented Connecticut in the USA Hockey National Tournament in Coral Gables, Florida. Buzzy is a Level 4 certified coach.


Dan Feighan (U18): Hockey has been Dan's passion his entire life. He started coaching while playing high school hockey at age 15.  For the next 24 years, Dan was a head coach in youth hockey programs such as Stamford, Westchester Express, Mid-Fairfield, Greenwich Blues, and the Norwalk Barons. In 2005, Dan was named Head Coach at Norwalk High School, making him the youngest head coach in the FCIAC. He remained the head coach for the next 10 years. 2018 will be Dan's second year coaching the RAHA Split-Season 18U Midget team. 


For more information, please contact Tom McNicholas at  .



RAHA encourages all high school players to consider their high school’s preseason programs.  Details for the Ridgefield High School preseason conditioning program, managed by the RHS Booster Club, will be available over the summer at For additional information about the RHS Booster Club offerings, please contact Angela Cullinan at   or Rich Pereira  .

by posted 03/13/2018
Congratulations to Squirt B, Tier 4 State Champs!

Congratulations to our Squirt B team, State Champions in the Tier 4 Campbell Division! They entered the tournament as the #5 seed yet racked up five straight wins, including a thrilling 2-1 victory in overtime, to win gold. This is an incredible accomplishment for the team and we are so proud of all of them, as well as Coach Mark Elliott and Assistant Coach Julian Trotman. Way to go, Lions! 

by posted 03/05/2018
RAHA named Best Youth Sports Program by Ridgefield Magazine

We are thrilled and gratified that the readers of Ridgefield Magazine voted Ridgefield Amateur Hockey Association the Best Youth Sports Program in the first annual Readers Choice Awards. Thank you for your support! Check out the winners in the April issue of Ridgefield Magazine.

by posted 02/26/2018
2018-19 Tryout dates and times

Tryouts for the 2018-19 season will be held on the following dates and times. This schedule supersedes any previously shared or discussed schedule.

Mites (2010 birth years and younger):

  • Saturday, March 24: 12:45-1:45 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 25: 8:15-9:15 a.m.

Squirts (2008 and 2009 birth years):

  • Tuesday, March 20: 5:10-6:10 p.m. last names A-M; 6:20-7:20 p.m. N-Z
  • Wednesday, March 21: 6:40-7:25 p.m. Group 2; 7:35-8:20 p.m. Group 1
  • Sunday, March 25: 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Group 2; 12:55-2:10 p.m. Group 1

Peewees (2006 and 2007 birth years):

  • Monday, March 19: 6:30-7:30 p.m. last names A-M; 7:40-8:40 p.m. N-Z
  • Thursday, March 22: 6:40-7:25 p.m. Group 2; 7:35-8:20 p.m. Group 1
  • Saturday, March 24: 2:00-3:15 p.m. Group 2; 3:30-4:45 p.m. Group 1

Bantams (2004 and 2005 birth years):

  • Monday, April 16: 6:40-7:40 p.m. last names A-M; 7:50-8:50 p.m. N-Z
  • Tuesday, April 17: 6:40-7:40 p.m. Group 2; 7:50-8:50 p.m. Group 1
  • Thursday, April 19: 6:40-7:40 p.m. Group 2; 7:50-8:50 p.m. Group 1


  • Squirts/Peewees: Tuesday, March 13, 5:10-6:10 p.m.
  • Bantams: Wednesday, April 18, time TBD

A note regarding Group 1/Group 2: following each evaluation session, players are sorted into "Group 1" or "Group 2". You will receive an email telling you which group session to attend. 

We expect to have online registration opened very soon. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Director of Hockey Operations, Dennis Bishop, at 

Thank you.

by posted 02/15/2018
Save the date for 2018-19 tryouts

Please mark your calendars for tryouts for the 2018-19 season:

Bantams (2004 and 2005 birth years):

  • Monday, April 16
  • Tuesday, April 17
  • Wednesday, April 18
  • Thursday, April 19 (if necessary)

Peewees (2006 and 2007 birth years):

  • Monday, March 19
  • Thursday, March 22
  • Saturday, March 24

Squirts (2008 and 2009 birth years):

  • Tuesday, March 20
  • Wednesday, March 21
  • Sunday, March 25

Mites (2010 birth years and younger):

  • Saturday, March 24
  • Sunday, March 25

Midgets (2003-2000 birth years):

  • Saturday, April 21
  • Sunday, April 22


We hope to open online registration very soon. We look forward to seeing you on the ice!

by posted 01/29/2018
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