There has also been no consistency from game-to-game on how the games are officiated. Are the “big hits” going to be penalized?
In my opinion, college hockey officiating during the past few years has been shoddy at best; there have been a lot of blown calls with little explanation of why the calls were made. Legal checks have been called five minute majors. Obstruction and stick fouls in the offensive zone have gone uncalled. Line calls have been bad as well.
Yesterday, the NCHC released its “official” plan on how the league is going to supervise, train and manage their on-ice officials. On paper, it would appear that the new league is concerned about optics and doesn’t want to have a repeat of how the current WCHA manages its on-ice officials.
NCHC Press Release --- “One of the key goals for our conference is to develop one of the best officiating programs in the country,” Novak said.This is what I believe is "major" key as well. USHL Officials for instance have to be certified by the USA Hockey and I believe that the best of the best should be utilized to officiate college hockey games. You should not be selected based on who you’re related to or who you're friends with. You should be selected based on skill and knowledge, not on family lineage.
Novak and Adam will select a group of up to 14 referees and 32 linesmen that will form the league’s first officiating staff. The majority of the referee staff will be selected from the collegiate ranks with others being hired from both the professional and major junior ranks. Once the NCHC’s referee staff is in place, they will take part in an in-depth, three-day training camp that will set the stage for the inaugural season. The league will also conduct three one-day linesman seminars, which will be in Minnesota, Colorado, and Michigan.
“We will extend our expectations to the officials before they come to camp and then provide them with very detailed and focused sessions once they do arrive,” Adam said. “We want to educate our officials in every way possible which includes, but is not limited to: skating, positioning, rules and interpretations, and the mental aspect of officiating. We will be utilizing video as a teaching tool throughout the season, while communicating with our officials on a regular basis. Our training program is a culmination of our collective officiating experience, which includes the collegiate, professional and international hockey levels. We will always strive to develop one of the best staffs in the country.”
The NCHC’s referee training camp and linesman seminars will be the foundation of a training program that can be built upon throughout the season. The second aspect of the officiating program consists of the addition of three supervisors who are located in key geographic locations for the league, in addition to Adam and Novak. This ensures that approximately 75 percent of all NCHC games will be supervised, allowing officials to learn on a more consistent basis.
“Our supervisory program is based upon a huge commitment from Jim Scherr and Joe Novak,” Adam said. “The fact that they have allowed for additional supervisors to evaluate games every weekend shows their commitment to the officiating program. Our supervisors will be an extension of Joe and I and our goal is to ensure that everyone is always on the same page from a teaching perspective.”
Ron Foyt, Mike Schmitt and Scott Zelkin have been selected to the NCHC’s first supervisory staff. This highly-respected trio brings a wealth of officiating experience to the new conference.
“As the NCHC begins its inaugural season, I’m truly honored to have the opportunity to work with the officiating staff,” Zelkin said. “The member institutions that make up the conference are some of the premier ice hockey programs in the United States and the staff that will be charged with officiating the games will be equally as strong. Helping to coach the officials to be the best they can possibly be during every game will be a privilege and I can hardly wait to begin working with Don and the rest of the staff.”Now, this plan looks good when you read it on paper. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how this “actually” plays out, once it’s executed. If the NCHC employs the same usual suspects, we can name names, but I won’t, you know who I am talking about. Then this is nothing more than just fancy lip service.
Along with establishing a knowledgeable and experienced group of officials for the present, the NCHC has plans to incorporate a system for developing officials. “Our league has already established a formidable relationship with Scott Brand and USA Hockey’s Junior Officiating Development Program” Adam said. “This relationship will assist us in identifying future collegiate officials.”
“We have been gaining input from both coaches and athletic directors regarding their opinions on what might assist in strengthening our officiating program,” Adam said. “Our mindset is that we are going to hire a quality staff with every official being capable of working any game during the season. Officials will have to earn their way into the NCHC playoffs and championship tournament. Selections will be based upon our implemented rating system.”
If the NCHC employs the same brutal officials that have been officiating games for the WCHA, then the NCHC is going to have the same shoddy on ice product that the WCHA has had the last 4-5 seasons. We soon will find out. Developing...