The Mystery Unravelled: All About Officiating in Minor Hockey

I have heard numerous complaints regarding officiating. Let me make one thing clear, the referees are human. They get fed-up, frustrated and fatigued. It has been said that to error is to be human. If you are expecting NHL officiating you are seriously delusional. Firstly if you wonder why there is no or little consistency it is difficult to keep consistency when you have to try and keep a standards amongst 270 officials (in the case of GTHL). Referees are placed in a difficult position they want to keep the game with in control however they must also try and keep a competitive level of play. Hockey Canada loses approximately 30,000 officials every. This means that there is a large turnover of officials. Training of officials is not an easy task. They have to learn procedures and rules as well as the new rules emphasis.

Referees in the competitive minor hockey leagues (e.g. GTHL, OMHA, NYHL, and etc.) are typically evaluated during the year. Officials given good evaluations are given good evaluations, poor or newer officials are told how to improve. Evaluations are performed by senior officials who are trained as supervisors.

When a scheduled is generated by the Referee-In-Chief he attempts to fill in as best he can the officials he feels are capable officiating that level of hockey. However in larger leagues such as GTHL, many of its officials leave to officiate junior meaning they schedule whoever else is capable. Sometimes this means a less experience and newer official who still qualified. The person assigning doesn’t want this to happen however officials have other commitments with other leagues and above all families (yes! they do have families).

For those people wishing to file a complaint with the league regarding an official should go through their manager. The only basis for which a complaint should be filed is if the referee is guilty of misconduct. If he misses as call or messes one up, that is not grounds for a complaint. Secondly the leagues would also like to hear when a referee does a good job. A referee doesn’t receive enough good feedback. All he sees is the parents complaining.

I hope this has enlightened you regarding officiating.Next time you stand to yell at the referee, you are most likely yelling at the same young official who is trying to develop and will become a better official. However your yelling will make him quit. Thus perpetuating a cycle.


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