Young Officials Need Someone To Look Up To

Editorial By Greg Snyder; Referee In Chief - Petawawa


Young teenager’s that referee hockey need someone to look up to, answer questions and sometimes just, talk.

Why is this? 33% of young officials pack it in after the first season.

In Petawawa this season we have twelve new Level I officials. If we get six back next season I’d be happy and shocked.

Hockey in Canada , in my opinion is in serious trouble. Across the country at any given time on an icy cold January morning the same thing happens. Young referees get yelled at, told, “You’re junk”, “You suck” and these are just mild. Many people I’ve spoken too say that it’s not O.K. or “I never yell at the ref’s” Where and when do they say that? When they are not at the rink and there is no game taking place. They are normally the first people to start yelling at a referee. But “Your a referee, your supposed to have thick skin” yes over time we do, but not after refereeing one season that for a teenager consists of about 20 games. In my opinion an ice rink is the only place it is socially acceptable to yell at someone else’s child, and get away with it.

With the work of Paul Boese the Referee-in-Chief in Cobden he has made it possible to hopefully lower the percentage of referees that quit due to the Mentorship Program.

Paul Boese is the Director of the Mentorship program for the Ottawa District Hockey Association this season. As members of the ODHA Officiating staff we could volunteer for the Mentorship Program. Basically this meant working throughout the season with young hockey officials in our local referee associations across the branch. Kelly Parent and myself thought it would be a lot of fun and rewarding to take 4 youngsters each from Petawawa. 

Paul had the idea of doing something special for the kids before the end of the season and hopefully gets most of them to be excited and come back next season.

So in Cobden on Sunday March 16 2003 , 11 young referees from Petawawa and Cobden were able to spend a few hours with NHL Linesman Derek Nansen and CJHL Referee Adam Brown. Since Derek Nansen was a former ODHA official and has officiated many games with Paul and Adam he was willing to come and help out with the program. It was unfortunate that only five of the twelve new Level I’s from Petawawa were able to attend this exciting event. In attendance from the Greater Petawawa Referee Association were Aaron Aubertin, Michael David, Cory Morash, Owen Hutton and Curtis Smith. The Cobden official’s were Jonathon Ross, Courtney Trombley, Andrea Burwell, Derek Sigsworth, Thomas Boese and Shawn Tanguay.

The kids had a lot of fun on the ice while Derek, Adam and Paul put the officials through some drills and relay races. Afterwards, off the ice we got some pizza and the kids had the chance to ask Derek some questions and find out what it is like to be a Linesman in the NHL. Derek officiates on average three games a week and says it is a very exciting career. Derek started officiating at the age of 11in the Ottawa area. Before receiving his contract with the NHL, Derek was a linesman in the CJHL, OHL, AHL. He has also had the honor to be a linesman at World Championships and officiate at the last Olympics.

Derek, Adam and Paul all work very hard on and off the ice for the love of the game and to pass along some tips and experiences to younger officials. Thanks guys  

If you’re ever watching a NHL game and see a linesman with the #70 on his back that would be Derek.

Relax it’s just a game. The NHL draft does not start at Novice House League. 

The above comments are that of the writer and not that of any association.  

Greg Snyder is the Referee In Chief for Petawawa. He is a Level IV official who lines games at the Jr. A and B levels. Greg enjoys working the lines and at this time has no thoughts of refereeing. The issue of adequate role models for young officials is definitely a critical concern for people responsible for developing future referees and linesmen. We must begin to do something to help the officials feel more proud of the role they play in minor hockey. They are a very valuable component and should receive an elevated level of respect from all parties. We thank Greg for sharing his thoughts with us.


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