An grownup hockey official’s perspective


USA Hockey’s Rules and Abuse Subcommittee would like to provide a glimpse into the experience of an amateur hockey official. As we continue to build the game, we want to shed light on the challenges that can hinder the retention of officials with the official program. Without officials, we cannot play the game we all love.

Hi, I’m an amateur hockey official. I served a little over eight months.

I tried reffing because I wanted to stay in the hockey community but didn’t have time to play on a team. Whatever free time I have, I try to fill it with reefing.

Sometimes that means being scheduled for the adult games at night. I don’t mind repeating adult games, but they’re not my favorite games. This is mainly because if I show respect for the players and try very hard to keep the game fair and safe, I expect respect in return. I don’t feel like I am consistently getting this.

I’m not saying anyone has to like me. But I hope everyone would understand that I need to impose some penalties that could go against your team to keep the game fair and safe. I do my best to make the right calls every time.

If I keep complaining about a phone call and trying to bully myself, I no longer want to run adult games. Sometimes these are the only games my schedule allows me. It always feels like I have to choose between playing these games and yelling at them or stop making these games when there aren’t many others I can help with or just stop reefing altogether .

I started thinking about that. I know other referees who stopped playing adult games for the same reason. Nobody enjoys being yelled at or bullied for just doing their job. So, I’ll give a little more time before I decide to stop adult games entirely.

But do you know what happens when there are no referees? There are no more games. Officials are vital to being able to play hockey as they keep the game safe and fair for everyone.