management is one of those elusive terms that cannot be easily explained.
You can always tell when a referee has managed a game well, but even you
can’t put your finger on why you feel that way, you just know that the
official has played a critical role in the contest without becoming the
central focus. In other words, he has recognized that his role was one of
a manager of that game.
of the things that people must realize is that the only people involved in
the participation of any game of hockey who do not have a vested interest
in their success in the game are the officials. All parties, however, will
agree that they want to have a game that is both fair and safe.
most successful referees are the ones who have developed the ability to
establish a “feel for the game”. These officials are able to “read
the game” and react to the different faces of the game to maintain a
good standard with few problems. They will not call every penalty
infraction, but they will call the most significant infractions to ensure
that safety and fairness in the game becomes the focus.
each game, usually near the beginning, players and coaches will attempt to
test the referee to determine how he intends to manage the game. This will
have a great effect on a team’s style of play. For example, when I was
coaching at the minor hockey level, I always found out who the referee was
before giving my pre-game speech to the players. It always determined how
we were going to approach the game.
game has a life of its own. From the opening face-off until the final
buzzer, the intensity builds and there are often turning points in the
style of play of each team. Officials who manage their games well must
ensure that unacceptable infractions are called early in the game as well
as in the dying moments. You cannot tighten up near the end. This is why
you often see referees call more penalties at the beginning of the game to
set the parameters and standard for the players.
types of infractions assessed by the referee will have a direct bearing on
the outcome of a game. For example, there are certain penalties that must
be called. These are referred to as ‘Impact Penalties” and will be
explained in detail in the next section.
referee, for example, may be able to allow certain tripping penalties that
don’t give a team an outright advantage over the other without affecting
his game management, however, checking from behind and high sticking
cannot be ignored and must be clamped down all game long. The experienced
referees are also able to evaluate how a team has responded to a penalty
call and what effect it has had on the flow of the game.
order to avoid the trap of shouting at a referee to call every single
infraction that occurs on the ice, parents and coaches must keep game
management in mind. The very best explanation of game management I have
ever read uses a bird analogy. For example, if you squeeze the bird too
tightly, you can kill it. But if you hold it too loosely, it will get
management for a referee, therefore, is all about holding on to the game
with just the right strength and control. Call too many penalties,
especially penalties for infractions which would have very little effect
on the outcome of the game, and you can kill it. However, allow major
impact infractions to go unpenalized and the game can get away from you.
It is a fine balance, and as mentioned above, you can tell when a referee
has managed a game well, but you can’t really tell a referee how to do
it. You simply must have a “feel for the game” that many people think
a person is born with.