My Son's First Year as a Hockey Official
A while ago I wrote a small article regarding the challenges our young officials face in today's sports.
Today my son got his last pay for the Minor Hockey season as he begins to officiate the spring hockey season.
Since September my son officiated in approximately 240 games - half the games wearing the bands and the other half as a linesman. Through the season he dealt with some difficult coaches and parents. He dealt with it, learned from it and carried on. Being only a level 1 and a 14-year-old he was assigned higher level games which challenged him and also brought him to the “next level”.
From my son’s stand point, officiating hockey has turned out to be a great part time job.
A job with flexible scheduling which works around school and family events. A part time job which can be carried on through his university years. A part time job which includes physical activity while improving his own skills for hockey.
I have had spoken to many professionals who say it is quite an asset for an individual to show on their resume they have officiated.
What seems to work for our local Association is a hands-on approach from the Referee in Chief, Bob Keays, down through the supervisors, Joe Nagel and Thomas Hachey, right to the officials themselves.
Our supervisors are continually evaluating and mentoring our officials, be it on the ice or after the game by use of video, mentors explain different aspects of the game to the younger officials. When the time is right the officials are moved up to the “next level”. Again, the young official is continually being monitored and evaluated. Beyond our association camps are available such as the Don Koharski Summer Camp - which allows training as well as identifying those officials who show the talent which may move them up to the QMJHL and the like.
At the end of the day, we hear and see lots of negatives in our rinks. What a relief it is to see the support our associations show towards our officials to spin such positives.
The likelihood of our young hockey players making it to the semi or pros someday is pretty slim. The possibility of one of young officials making it to the semi or pros someday is quite the opposite. Several officials in the Maritimes have made their way up through the ranks and landed positions in the Q or even into the NHL.
So, as you can see when people ask me why would I ever let my son referee hockey? I immediately ask, why not?