So You Want to Be a Referee?

By Michael Barrett, Illinois Referee-in-Chief & Supervisor of Officials

So 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, curriculum and training and works in tandem with AHAI regarding evaluation, supervision and mentoring of officials. Throughout an Illinois ice hockey official’s career, 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 registration process is straightforward and user friendly. Head to the IHOA website home page ( for a listing of seminar dates, locations and levels. After identifying the seminar which is best with your schedule, click on the “Registration” tab along the black banner and you will find more registration information. From there, you will see the simply follow the prompts and register for the date and location that suits your availability. Remember, registration starts on August 1.

Click HERE for 2017 IHOA Seminar Schedule

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

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

Categories: AHAI, IHOA, Officials

Tags: , , ,

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