By Mike Barrett, IL Referee-in-Chief/Supervisor of Officials
What a great game we all participate in! A game combining skill, speed, strength and smarts all come together for the purpose of skating, shooting and scoring. And we would all love it to stay exactly that way.
In rare circumstances, those same qualities which make our game great could also contribute to an emotional response by coaches, players and fans. Recently, this emotional response increased the incidence of inappropriate conduct by coaches, players and fans towards the officiating community.
Last year, AHAI and IHOA saw a spike in conduct which was wholly inappropriate and, in at least 4 separate circumstances, resulted in physical confrontations between officials and coaches or parents. In each of the physical confrontations, either the police were called to the rink or the proper affiliate was notified and suspensions were handed down.
Recently I was afforded the opportunity to meet with a number of Tier II Presidents to discuss how the Illinois officiating community needs their help and the help of their coaches, players and fans. We need their input in order to get out in front of these emotional situations and eliminate these situations in the future.
AHAI and IHOA willingly provide speakers who will attend organization functions and speak with administrators, coaches, players and fans. These discussions identify the issues common to everyone participating in ice hockey and range from playing rules to zero tolerance and everything in between. The discussions are informative and include a question and answer period. Historically, those organizations participating with these discussions saw a dramatic decrease in the number of zero tolerance violations, game misconducts and match penalties.
Anyone interested in participating with this program may send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with available dates, times and locations and we will make every effort to attend these meetings and conduct the necessary discussions.
In the meantime, have a great summer and GO BLACKHAWKS!