Referee Consistency

I understand that there is a problem with consistency between officials, however this has been a problem that has plagued officiating and hockey since its inception. I must say though that the new standard isn’t making the problem any easier. What can be done to change the problem? Believe it or not, there isn’t much more the leagues can do. They publish standards, hold clinics, and suspend and remove officials who do not call what they want.

That being said there is an expectation that players will understand this a learn to grow and adapt to the individual referee standards. The best way to do this is to watch the referee’s manurisms, signals, and penalty calls.  If the referee starts the game with a technical call, often this means that he will be calling the rules fairly tight. Should the referee “let ’em play” you are probably going to get away with alot more than you would with some other referees. However this doesn’t mean the referee is going to let everything go. Abuse of his standard will often lead to a much tighter level of enforcement. A great example of this is roughing after the wistle. If he is willing to allow you to get away with a bit of it, don’t take advantage and start fights after the wistle. Once the game starts to get “stupid” he is going to start calling penalties. Remember that at this point he gave you the opportunity to play and you took advantage of it and couldn’t handle it.

In final, teams that expect to do well will have to learn to adapt. Players who move on in hockey often recognize the “line” and try not to flirt with it. If the referee is calling roughing after the wistle all game the punch after the wistle is going to get called. As they say “When you play with fire you get burned!”


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