Tri-City Storm Hockey

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        And in the beginning (about 1917) there was just one Referee to officiate at hockey games. No Linesmen, no Goal Judges, etc. Just the Referee. No striped shirt. He wore a white sweater and dark pants. He was allowed to have an Assistant but one was rarely used. If there was an Assistant, he wore a blue sweater and dark pants.

        The whistle had not been invented yet so the Referee carried a bell. The first whistles were made of steel which would stick to the Referee’s lips so they continued to use the bell. Besides, they said, the players were not as inclined to attack them if they were carrying a heavy bell.

        Finally after nine years of trying to maintain order by himself, it was determined that the Referee should have a Linesman to assist him.

        Today in the NHL, and occasionally in the USHL, a two-Referee system is used. This is not a new idea. It was done in the mid-1930’s also. But then it was dropped in favor of a Referee and two Linesmen. There were no referee schools or training camps until the mid 1940’s so former players were hired to “call them like they saw them”.

Rule 502. Referee

        (i) If, through misadventure or sickness, the Referee and/or Linesmen appointed are prevented from appearing, the Managers or Coaches of the two teams shall agree on a Referee and Linesmen. If they are unable to agree, they shall appoint a player from each team who shall act as Referee and Linesman; the player of the home team acting as Referee, and the player of the visiting team as Linesman.
                                                                                             From USA Hockey Official Rules; Junior Hockey Edition 2003-2005 Seasons

Referee looks in rule book
 The USHL is an entry level for the referees as well as the players.  On some rare occasions when an unusual situation arises, it is a good idea to consult the rule book, even during a game.

                                                                    Knowing the Rules

         Have you ever stopped to think about the game from  the ref’s point of view?  The referee has to know the rule book for the USHL conference from front to back. 

          But many of these refs move from one conference to another during a season.  We’ve known that several of our USHL refs also work NAHL games, for instance.  And then there is the AHL and the NCAA, etc. 

          Not only must a ref know the standard rules of the game but each conference has some rules that are different from other conferences.  According to one ref, Al Stensland, who has worked in five different conferences over the past 10 years, the first thing he does when scheduled for a new conference, is go through their rule book and highlight rules that are different.  Then he reviews the differences before working the game.

          Attempts have been made to standardize the rules.  The problem comes when considering the differences in abilities and expectations, for example, between a 10-year-old who only plays in his own arena and a 22-year-old student playing on a scholarship in college. 

         Looks like the refs will have to keep their highlighter handy for a while longer.

                                                                                                             from “Different Rulebooks” by Matt Nilles, USA Hockey, Dec. 2007

                                                       Referee Equipment



         If a hockey player decides to make the switch to referee, it is not necessary to buy all new equipment. Take the helmets for example. They are the same. But if the player was using a cage, a half shield will have to be substituted. And if the helmet got a little scruffed up during games or practice, there is an inexpensive solution. As one equipment company advertises:

“Tired of your helmet looking dull, the NEW Officials Wearhouse helmet shine will keep your helmet looking bright game in and game out. This small black Plastic case fits easily in your bag and has a screw-off lid that holds a sponge applicator containing silicone-based polish to shine your helmet.”

                                                                              Elbow pads

       These are important pieces of equipment for the referee. They prefer a thinner, more stream-lined pad instead of the bulkier player pad. That is probably why we are not aware that they are being worn under that striped shirt.
Ref's elbow pad

                                                                              Shin Guards

ref shin guards           The referee and linesmen may wear shin guards if they wish. This piece of equipment closely resembles the player’s shin guard. Since they are worn inside the trouser leg, the fan in the audience cannot tell if the officials are wearing this protection.



Revised: 07/07/2016