No, it is not a teenage referee or linesman. A minor official is an off-ice official – a scorekeeper, time keeper or someone working the penalty box. At the youth level this is very likely a parent volunteer. In some cases a minor official may be a contracted individual who is paid for their services. However, for the purpose of this article, although this conversation applies to contracted minor officials as well, we will be focusing on the parent volunteer in the role of a minor official.
What You Should Do as a Minor Official
The off-ice or minor officials are considered part of the officiating team. They have very distinct responsibilities as part of that team. The scorekeeper keeps the scoresheet for the game so the on-ice officials and each team has an official record of what happened during that game. The scoresheet has significance for several reasons. It is the official record of the game. That record includes who played in that game, who was absent and who was injured. These designations are critical to ensure a player’s eligibility for league playoffs and state tournaments. Additionally, it is a record of penalties for that game. Depending on the type of penalty, the scoresheet can trigger a player suspension and must be recorded correctly to avoid a team playing a suspended player. A minor official should always get clarification from the referee if they are unsure as how to record a penalty.
The timekeeper’s role is quite simple; start and stop the clock and post penalties. The timekeeper should pay extremely close attention to the game to ensure clock accuracy. There is nothing worse than having parents and/or coaches yelling to start or stop the clock. This also puts the referees in a tough position as they now have to figure out how much time to run off or delay to get the game back on the correct time – this is difficult and a best guess, which can further upset parents and coaches. Additionally, the timekeeper should assist the scorekeeper. If there are no minor officials assigned to the penalty box, it is also the timekeeper’s responsibility to alert the player in the penalty box to prepare to go back into the game when penalty is over.
What should you NOT do as a Minor Official?
There are several things to avoid as a minor official. Do not be excessive when cheering for your team – no banging on the glass or boards. Do not engage in conversation with the players in the penalty box, other than to tell them when to exit or to clarify their jersey number if you did not hear the referee. If a player is misbehaving, let the on-ice official know and they will handle the situation. Do not engage either team’s coach, which is the on-ice official’s responsibility. Absolutely do not criticize the on-ice officials in anyway, you are held to a higher standard than the spectators.
Click HERE for a great summary of the duties performed by each minor official; scorekeeper, timekeeper and penalty box operator. While some of these duties are not performed at every game or at every level, the list is still valuable to read, know, and understand. Most of all, AHAI would like to thank the thousands of volunteer minor officials who work countless games each night across the state. Like with many things hockey, the game does not happen without your assistance. Thank you for volunteering!