Quick Tip #1: Your Appearance Is Everything

Dave Newell, the Assistant Director of Officiating for the NHL, made the following comment to me recently.
"I only have to look at a guy on the ice one time to tell if he has what it takes to become a professional referee. There are a lot of little things you look for, but most of all it is the presence of the person on the ice that is most important. How he carries himself; how he talks to the players; how he looks when he skates - these are things that tell you about the character of a person. You can teach someone about positioning and rules. You can even help him improve his skating. But you canít teach judgement, common sense and rapport with the players. Those are the qualities which separate the top officials from the rest of the pack.."
Write this quote out in large letters and tape it inside your rule book. Listen carefully to what Mr. Newell has to say and make sure that if he sees you on the ice, he sees everything he is looking for in a professional referee.

Quick Tip #2: Looking Confident is Critical

There is a fine line between looking confident and looking cocky on the ice, but as a young official, confidence is critical.
A confident Referee is one who clearly looks like he is doing the best job that they he can do. You look confident when you skate as hard as you can all the time; try to be in the best position; show respect to the players and coaches; donít talk back to the fans; and plain and simple, just have that special appearance that says "I know what Iím doing out here". A confident referee does not slouch, but stands up straight and is not afraid to look a player or coach in the eyes. Look confident and you will find the games a whole lot more enjoyable.

Quick Tip #3: Experience Is The Best Teacher

The only way to become a better referee or linesman is to do a lot of games. Experience is the best teacher. When the Referee-In-Chief asks you to do a game at the last second, do it if you can. Donít pass up on any opportunity to get on the ice, even if it is at a lower level than you would like. The only way that you will gain experience is if you officiate games. The more games you officiate the better official you will become, and hockey needs more experienced officials if hockey is going to survive and get better.

Quick Tip #4: Read Your Rule Book Whenever You Can

There is no worse situation in hockey than having a coach know the rules better than the referee. Coaches can recognize a referee who knows his rules from a referee who does not. Whenever you have a spare moment, read your rule book and case book. If something happens in a game that you are unsure of, take out the rule book as soon as possible. The best referees read their book all the time, just like the best hockey players are the last ones off the ice during a practice. You can never know the rules too well!

Quick Tip #5: Taking Off The Heat After A Quick Whistle

From time to time every referee finds himself in a situation where he has blown his whistle too quickly. Usually this happens around the net in a wild scramble when you lose sight of the puck. Unfortunately, there are times when it appears as if the referee is the only one in the building who did not see that the puck was clearly loose and in play. If that happens to you during a scramble around the net and you feel the eyes of the world looking in on you, casually move towards the side of the goal and shift the net as if you are placing it back on its moorings. You don't have to say a thing. Just move the post around a little bit and make it look as if you are putting it back in place. If you do it quickly enough and make it obvious to everyone in the building that you are moving the net into position, the yelling will soon stop. Since everyone is concentrating on where the puck is during the play, very few people other than the referee ever see that a net has been displaced, and yet everyone understands that if the post is dislodged even the slightest amount, the referee is going to blow the whistle and put it back in place. No one will ever be the wiser. Just hope for your sake that it doesn't happen too often in the same game.



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