So You Want to Be a Referee?

ahaienews ihoaSo you want to be a referee? Well, congratulations. We are happy to have you!

I am sure you are wondering what you have to do to become a referee. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some insight into the registration process.

The Illinois Hockey Official’s Association (IHOA) conducts all aspects of officials’ registration, instruction, curriculum, training, evaluation, supervision and mentoring. From the beginning of an Illinois ice hockey official’s career to the end of their career and everywhere in between, IHOA plays a vital role in the entire process.

So what is the FIRST step to become an official? Simply put, you should have the desire to participate in perhaps the greatest sport known to man. You will be challenged physically and mentally as an official.

People sometimes forget that while the typical shift of a hockey player lasts 30-60 seconds, and there are 3-4 lines of forwards and 2-3 lines of defense, an official skates the entire game without a line change. And while skating the entire game, an official is observing up to 12 players on an ice surface covering roughly 18,000 square feet in size. Having read that do you now understand some of the physical and mental requirements of officiating?

Officials’ registration begins on August 1 at 8:00 a.m. and runs throughout the seminar season. The process is straightforward and user friendly. Head to the IHOA website and click on the “seminar information” link on the left hand column. From there, simply follow the prompts and register for the date and location that suits your availability.


Level 1 officials are the newest officials so if you are just starting out, you should register for Level 1. As a level 1 official, you will need to bring your skates, helmet (without a cage but WITH a properly affixed visor), elbow pads and good cheer to the seminar. Once at the seminar, the IHOA instructors will take it from there and teach you how to officiate an ice hockey game.

In addition to the IHOA registration, all officials must register with USA Hockey. Even if you already registered with USA Hockey as a player or coach, you must register again as an official. For more information regarding the requirements of USA Hockey, head to their website at

This year USA Hockey added some online components to the seminar process.  At the current time, USA Hockey is estimating their online presentation (the mandatory portion for all officials) will not be available for viewing until at least August 15, and the elective portions will not be available until at least September 1.  But you may certainly start and complete the online SafeSport training if you are 18 or more years old.

I hope to see you at the seminars this season.  In the meantime, have a great and safe summer!

Michael B. Barrett

IL Ref-in-Chief/Supv. Of Officials

Categories: Officials

Tags: , ,

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