Welcome to Ottawa Junior Flag Rugby

2019-2020 Season


Special Announcement!

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For the 2nd half of our program, Ottawa Junior Flag Rugby is proud to announce a slew of special guests! These include Can-Am Strength and Conditioning, Capital Strength Training Systems, The Ottawa Gee Gees Men and Women's Rugby Teams and Coaches and the Carleton Ravens Men and Women's Rugby Teams and Coaches!


A Game Centered Approach to Improving Rugby Skills


About OJFR

At OJFR, our goal is to help youth develop their rugby skill in the most effective ways possible.  This is best accomplished through a fun, game-centered, constraints-based and empowered approach.  This is a NON-CLUB affiliated venture offered to all Ottawa/Hull youth (boys and girls) ages 11-13 as well as some select 14 year olds and advanced 10 year olds

(YOB: 2004-2008)

Come and play the world's greatest game!

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This year, we have access to 19 weeks of indoor turf beginning November 16th at the Algonquin Dome. Because of this valuable extra turf time, we have made some changes to the OJFR program. For the first 10 weeks, players will have the chance to train, compete and play games under the same approach as always (constraints-based, games, empowerment approach). However for the last 8 weeks, we will strictly be engaging in an 8 week flag rugby tournament similar to the previous year with 8 equally skilled teams playing against each other. It will continue to be player-led, with an emphasis on decision-making, tactical kicking and open field skills.

Total cost for 18 weeks is $400.00 which can be paid in 2 installments.

  • $250.00 by e-transfer by Nov 16th

  • $150.00 by e-transfer by January 11th.

Because of limited field size and time, there are only 64 spots for players available.

1st half Registration Begins Oct 21st

2nd half Registration Begins Jan 1st

Click the button below to register. You will be re-directed to another site to provide information and complete payment.



Note: Schedule is incomplete! Carleton Ravens and Gee Gees Women are coming as well (to be confirmed)

Remaining Schedule:

Sat., Jan. 4th Training & Games (CAN AM FITNESS!)

Sat., Jan. 11th Training & Games (CAPITAL FITNESS!)

Sat., Jan. 18th Training & Games (CAPITAL FITNESS!)

Sat., Jan. 25th Training & Games (OTTAWA GEE GEES MENS!)

Sat., Feb. 1st Training & Games

Sat., Feb. 8th 8-Week Flag Tourney (CARLETON RAVENS MEN)

Sat., Feb. 15th 8-Week Flag Tourney

Sat., Feb. 22nd 8-Week Flag Tourney

Sat., Feb. 29th 8-Week Flag Tourney

Sat., Mar.  7th 8-Week Flag Tourney (CARLETON RAVENS MEN)

Sat., Mar. 14th 8-Week Flag Tourney

Sat., Mar. 21st 8-Week Flag Tourney

Sat., Mar. 28th 8-Week Flag Tourney


Ottawa Junior Flag Rugby Rules

Once we begin our flag rugby tournament, these are the rules we'll be using.

The rules at OJFR are always evolving as we fine-tune the best rules to allow the kids to explore the game, be creative and most of all have fun!

10 Basic Rules are as follows:

  1. Each team will have a max. of 10 players with any 5-6 on the field (# TBD)

  2. Unlimited substitution. Referees will help with this. 

  3. Each player will be given a flag belt with flags the same colour.

  4. 5 flag pulls = change of possession

  5. On a flag pull, 3 sec/3 steps to pass or there is a penalty and possession change

  6. Kicking is permitted only after the 2nd flag pull.

  7. Kicks must be below referee's shoulder height.

  8. On the kickoff, sometimes you can gain possession.

  9. Tries are worth 1 point, some are worth 2.

  10. When we have access to turf #1 and #2, games are 12 min halves with a 2 min halftime and 5 min between games. When we have access only to turf #1, games are 9 min halves, with a 2 min halftime and 5 min between games. 

Please download the rest of the rules below so you are well prepared for your 1st game!



All training and games will take place at the Algonquin Dome which is located at the Algonquin College on 1385 Woodroffe Ave in Nepean. 



Why have Ottawa Junior Flag Rugby and the EORU formed a partnership?

For 2 reasons. First, turf time in Ottawa is very hard to find, especially at a time that is convenient for youth. When our old location shut down, OJFR went out immediately to search for turf but none was available. This put us in a tight spot. 
After a summer of coaching with the EORU (U-16 boys), I approached the EORU with a proposal for an indoor program for youth in Ottawa for younger players than normally programmed for, convinced our region was ready for it. At around the same time, we lost our regular turf. I approached the EORU to inquire of they were interested in using some of their time specifically for flag. The EORU was very interested in this and the rest as they say is history.

What is constraints-based, empowerment and games-based coaching you keep referring to?

Great question! In the past 10 years, there have been many studies detailing the best environments for kids to learn new skills. When we prescribe drills that have clean solutions, no opposition or predictable outcomes, kids are not learning in the best environment. However, if we can create a dynamic learning environment where kids are at the centre leading, choosing, moving, trying, solving, trying again, in a messy, open-ended, opposition involved  environment, then kids are really learning in the best environment possible. Drills that have problems or actions they cannot take (i.e. cannot score on the left), force players to make decisions and involve games with opposition are exactly at the centre of constraint-based coaching, empowerment and a games based approach.

Why are you using the rules you are for your flag rugby tournament??

Another great question! When the vision for a Non-club affiliated flag rugby league for youth in Ottawa in the winter months was developing, one area that I wanted to be sure to get right were the rules. We went so far as to contact provincial and national team coaches and asked them a simple question. Based on the profiles of your athletes, if you could go back and address areas of weakness in your athletes, what would they be? Overwhelmingly, the answers were attacking skills, creativity and kicking.
After that, I took a look at some of the rules for flag rugby played around the world (England, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia) and came up with a hybrid of the rules I feel addresses the needs the coaches indicated earlier and were also played in some form so we could emulate their best practices. What's been created fits the bill, but also know there will likely be revisions over time.

Do I need any experience? Why are some 10 and 14 year olds allowed?

You don't need any experience to join. Like any sport, there will likely be  a learning curve, however unlike most sports, once you experience the thrill of rugby, you'll never go back:) Read the rules, ask questions, talk with your teammates, watch it on the field or on TV and you'll pick it up in no time.

While we do have a separate program for U15/16s, if you are an inexperienced 14 year old player, or maybe you are much smaller than others your age, this program may be better suited for you in the interim. Also, if you are an experienced 10 year old, we will sometimes make exceptions and take younger than the regular targeted ages. Contact me at the e-mail below if you have questions if you are a 14 year old or a 10 year old. 

When we play the tournament, how are you making teams?

Based on the information you provide when you register, as well as how you perform during the first 10 weeks, 6-8 equal teams will be made. There may be some shuffling afterwards however. Team lists with player names will be posted on the website and e-mailed to parents.

What do I need to bring? Where do I go?

Running shoes are fine (we're on turf). Cleats are unnecessary, but turf shoes are fine. A water bottle is a good idea as well. We have the full indoor dome at Algonquin. Parents are welcome to stay and watch. Once the tournament starts, a nightly schedule will be written on a white board, but it is always a good idea to know when you play before arriving.

Why is it non-club affiliated? Where can I learn more about joining a club?

Another aspect we wanted to be sure of is that it was offered to everyone. In the summer months, you can play with your club, learn the game and have a great time there. But during the winter months, this league is a chance to mix players up, make new friends, compete against teammates and overall have a great time. We want to support all players from all clubs as we develop their skills.
If you do not happen to have a club, on the last night, representatives from all the clubs in Ottawa will be in attendance to answer questions any parent may have regarding where/when they practice, when their games are and their fees. Also, for those interested in the Rep. Team pathway, Eastern Ontario coaches and/or representatives will be in attendance as well to answer questions about their programs.

Can I join a team with a friend?

You are welcome to make requests, however the hope is by the time we play our games, you'll be friends with lots of other kids in the rugby community. Above all else, we want to make sure the teams are balanced and you'll make new friends in no time:)

What's the cost? What am I paying for?

The total cost is $400 which can be paid in 2 installments ($250 by Nov 16th and $160 by Jan 11th). This gives you 18 weeks of high level coaching, drills, games and a flag rugby tournament. The fee however is just to cover the cost of renting the dome. Payment can be made in 2 installments. The organizer, referees and others who help out are all volunteers who all believe in the vision of helping to improve the skill of youth in the area through a game-based approach.


Special Thanks

The dream of a flag rugby league for youth in Ottawa during the winter would never have come to fruition without the help of many in the local rugby community.

Special thanks to:

  • To Rugby Ontario's Ryan Jones who supported the initiative of OJFR from day 1. 

  • To the many clubs in Ottawa who continue to support this endeavor by encouraging their young members to participate including: The Barrhaven Scottish RC, The Ottawa Ospreys, The Bytown Blues, The Ottawa Irish, The Ottawa Senators, and The Ottawa Scottish Old Boys.

  • To the many individuals (too many to count) who have offered their assistance and continue to promote the greatest game on earth:)


Thank you!


About Me

My name is Aaron McDonald and I am a level 3 rugby coach residing in Carp, Ontario. I have been coaching rugby since 1990 when a knee injury opened the door to participating in the game in a different way. Since then, I have coached from the high school up to the national level. Currently, I am coaching at the U-13 club and U-15/16 rep level in Ottawa, Ontario. 
During a 4 year hiatus from coaching beginning in 2012, I read about and saw the benefits of an empowerment and constraints-based approach when coaching young athletes. Since 2016, I have adopted these approaches and been amazed at the outcomes. My goal as a coach is to continue to help develop young athletes in the sport of rugby, across all clubs, through the use of games, problem solving and challenging situations.