What to expect for the future of officials registration and education

From Stripes

Someone once said that “Officiating is the only vocation where you are expected to start out perfect and then only get better from there.” It’s true, officials face plenty of scrutiny every time they step on to the ice, and it’s unlikely that you will be able to please both teams with every call throughout the course of the game.

To make our job even more unique, you get a variety of “input” from players, coaches and spectators about your performance. Sometimes you’ll take those comments to heart in order to improve, other times you’ll tune the chatter out, knowing it’s not exactly helpful.

When it comes to our job in managing officials registration and education programs, things aren’t that much different. The Officiating Program leadership, made up of the Officials Section which is comprised of volunteer district referees-in-chief charged with establishing policy, finds it difficult to keep our 25,000 officiating members happy all of the time, while also balancing a commitment to the game of providing capable officiating.

They too hear a lot of chatter throughout the season, some of which is simply impractical and self-serving and tends to get tuned out, while some of it is heard loud and clear as legitimate concerns or ideas on how things could be improved. In any case, time is needed to explore the effect on the big picture and carefully think through all the possible ramifications of any change that is made for the betterment of the entire program, and ultimately, the game itself.

Consider the beginning of the USA Hockey Officiating Education Program back in 1983 when Mark Rudolph was brought in as the first director of the Officiating Education Program. It started with manuals, then the establishment of the summer development camps and instructor training programs, followed by the development of a more formal seminar program and open-book testing. It has continued to evolve to become the internationally recognized program you are part of today.

Along the way, there has been a tremendous amount of change taking place – much of which was actually suggested and encouraged by you, our membership. The digital age started electronic registration, then electronic testing, and more recently, the development of the online seminar curriculum. All of these ideas came from voices within our membership and USA Hockey’s leadership listened.

Sure, there have been a few naysayers suggesting we will lose membership as we make certain changes, or they say that we demand too much from our officials. After all, change is rarely easy and some people just don’t like it because it alters their routines. However, over the years and regardless of the changes that have taken place, the Officiating Program has seen growth in membership in 30 of the 35 years, and has continued to do business with only a couple of moderate fee increases. It is also important to realize that when change does occur, time is necessary to be able to fully evaluate the effect of that change. That has been especially true with the significant change in implementing the online seminar curriculum, now in its fourth season. This part of the educational process has been tweaked each season and culminated with a significant reduction in the time commitment necessary to complete all of the modules during the 2017-18 season.

Now that time has passed and as technology continues to advance, the Officials Section has spent the past 10 months evaluating our registration/education program and continuing to listen to membership feedback in an effort to continue to streamline the registration process while maximizing the educational benefit. The work of a sub-committee charged with this task has recently been completed and presented to the entire Officials Section, and received a positive response. Much of the specifics and details of the recommended changes moving forward will be finalized in the coming months, but we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the likely proposed changes to the registration process you will see for the 2018-19 season.

  • More streamlined and level-specific open-book testing. The Level 2, 3 and 4 open-book exams will be reduced to 50 questions. The open-book exam questions will be intended to be more level-appropriate and will focus on certain areas of the rules that require absolute knowledge and proper application for successful officiating.
  • Returning Level 3 and Level 4 (meaning their second or more season at that level) will have the option to test out of the elective module portions of their respective online seminar curriculum. They will still need to complete a required section that covers areas of emphasis, but when it comes to the electives, they can take the quiz prior to watching the video and if successfully passed, will get credit for completing that module.
  • Officials will be required to advance to Level 2 after a certain amount of time at Level 1.  The officials may then continue to advance or may choose to stay at level 2.
  • Pending approval by the board of directors, the Officials Section is recommending a slight change in the USA Hockey registration fee structure. Look for a two-tiered system to be in play next season where Level 1 officials (restricted to no more than two years at Level 1) pay one fee, while all others will pay a different fee.
  • Development of a new “tenured” member type for Level 3 and Level 4 officials. Officials will be eligible to apply for this tenured status after a certain number of years completed at Level 3 or 4. They will obtain tenured status by meeting specific requirements, including attendance at a national-level symposium. Once tenured status is obtained, officials will retain Level 3 or 4 status for as long as they continue to register with USA Hockey and fulfill the minimum annual requirements.  The “tenured” officials program is targeted to start with the 2019-20 season.

    More information will be coming as specifics are finalized. Be sure to read the STRIPES newsletter and USAHockey.com in the coming months for updates and more specific information on what you can expect as your officiating career continues.

Posted in News, Stripes

Katy Guay Selected To Officiate Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

Congratulations to Massachusetts own Katie Guay (Mansfield, MA) who is one of the seven American officials chosen to officiate the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea! Ice hockey competition begins on Saturday, February 10.

The six other American officials are Dina Allen (North Tonawanda, NY), Jud Ritter (Bethlehem, PA), Jessica Leclerc (Saco, ME), Timothy Mayer (Okemos, MI), Fraser McIntyre (Amherst, NY), and Melissa Szkola (St. Clare Shores, MI).

“USA Hockey is very proud of the officials selected to work the 2018 Olympic Winter Games,” said Matt Leaf, USA Hockey officiating education program director. “These officials are well-positioned to represent USA Hockey at the highest level, each having been committed and dedicated to successful officiating for many years.”

More information about the American officials chosen and their backgrounds may be found on USA Hockey’s website. A complete roster of Olympic Ice Hockey officials can be found on the IIHF’s website about PyeongChang.

Posted in Announcements

Registration Renewal Deadline Approaching

Registration Renewal Deadline Approaching. For returning Officials, you have until November 30, 2017, to complete all requirements to renew your USA Hockey Officiating registration. You are not allowed to work games after the November 30 deadline unless you have completed all renew requirements and have received your 2017-2018 Referee registration card and sweater crest.

You can check the status of your USA Hockey registration by logging in to your Referee Profile at USA Hockey”. Select “Referee Profile Login” and sign in with your email address and password. Once you log in, select the “My Profile” menu item and the “Officiating Information” menu item on the My Profile page. Click on the green “Refresh Data” button to make sure you are seeing the current information on your profile.


Posted in Announcements

2017 Officiating Seminars

Seminar dates and locations for 2017

Aug 8 and Aug 9 – Haverhill – Two nights, New Officials Only
Aug 23 – Level 3 – St Johns HS – Shrewsbury
Aug 26 – Level 1 & Level 2 – Shrewsbury HS
Aug 27 – Level 1, 2 & 3 – Agawam
Sep 9 – Level 1 & Level 2 – Andover
Sep 12 – Level 3 – Andover
Sep 16 – Level 1, 2 & 3 – Barnstable
Oct 5 – Level 4 – Marlboro
Oct 11 – Level 3 – Canton
Oct 14 – Level 1 & Level 2 – Canton

Registration Opens August 1 at USAHockey.com

Posted in Announcements

2017-2021 Rule Change Summary

The attached document is a brief summary of playing rule changes and does not reflect the actual language used in the official rules.

The purpose of this document is to provide a quick reference to the rule changes.

For specific language related to each rule, please see the 2017-21 USA Hockey Official Playing Rules Book.

Posted in Announcements

2017 National Tournament Officials

Congratulations to the Massachusetts Officials chosen to work in National Tournaments this year!

Kelly Cook
Sarah Hickman
Rachel Hutchinson
Jean Goodwin
Jenny Cameron
Katie Guay
Aida Margolin

Steve Drain
Jarred Mitrano
Devin Golden
John Collins
Joey Tomaino
Dave Sanshagrin

Well deserved, thank you for representing!

Posted in Announcements

2018 National Championships

USA Hockey Announces Dates and Locations for the 2018 National Championships. The 2018 Girls Tier 1 and Tier II National Championships will be held in Marlboro, MA April 5-9, 2018, additionally, Women’s A, B & C will be in Bedford, MA April 5-8, 2018. Why are we telling you about the 2018 National Championships in 2017? Because the crews for the national championships are selected from Level 4 Officials. If you want to have a shot at working a national championship, you must be a Level 4 for the 2017-2018 season. For those who plan ahead, plan on registering as a Level 4 (you must be a Level 3 now) next season.

Crews are selected from across the nation, but traditionally, the districts hosting the events have more Officials than those who have to travel. However, just because a national championship is not local to the district, we have often sent Officials across the country to work national championship games. The key is the Level 4 certification. So if you want to work at the national level, you must improve your officiating skills to attain Level 4 status.

Posted in Announcements

Summer Development Camps

Each summer, the development of young officials continues at the USA Hockey Officiating Development Camps. These camps are used to identify and prepare officials for junior, collegiate, and professional competition, and provide all participants with the fundamental skills needed to return home to their grassroots hockey community and be the best amateur hockey officials they can become. Many of the top officials in the United States have progressed through the various summer development camps, and USA Hockey recruits the top instructors available from professional and collegiate leagues to educate and evaluate the participants in all aspects of officiating. Here is a brief synopsis of each of the camps.

Note: The USA Hockey District Referees-in-Chief have more information regarding each of the development camps. All interested officials that meet the criteria for participation should contact their District RIC. Applications must be submitted to the District RIC by the prescribed deadline.


OBJECTIVE – This camp is a thoroughly educational review of the fundamentals of amateur ice hockey officiating. The Futures Camp establishes a practical understanding of the fundamentals of game management as recommended by the USA Hockey Officiating Program. These areas include positioning, skating fundamentals, rules knowledge, physical fitness, mental preparation, and setting goals. This camp is educational in nature and focuses on reinforcing basic techniques an official needs to manage all levels of amateur hockey.

PARTICIPANTS – These programs each host 12 -18 participants between the ages of (but not exclusive to) 18-28 years old. Applicants should have 2-3 years of overall experience (minimum) and some experience working 14 & Under hockey and higher. Furthermore, all participants should possess a desire to bring all information they learn back home to share with their local officiating community.

COST – $90.00 Registration Fee if selected to participate, plus travel to and from camp location. Housing, meals, facilities use, and classroom materials are provided by USA Hockey.


OBJECTIVE – To advance the educational process of the amateur official who has successfully proven his proficiency with application of the fundamentals of ice hockey officiating as presented at the Futures Camp level. To review and refine the lessons learned at the Futures Camp as the participants attempt to advance to the higher levels of hockey. This camp is focused on the advanced techniques that officials must master to effectively manage hockey games at the highest levels (Tier I & II Junior, NCAA, & Professional), but in doing so re-emphasizing the need to master the fundamentals of officiating. Additional supporting areas of instruction will include power skating, nutrition, physical conditioning and mental preparedness.

PARTICIPANTS – This program hosts 18-24 participants who are between the ages of (but not exclusive to) 20-30 years old. All officials must be USA Hockey registered officials. Experience at the Tier III Junior or ACHA Collegiate level, or participating at NAPHL development events or USA Hockey National Tournaments is preferred (but not required).

COSTS – $90.00 Registration Fee if selected to participate, plus travel costs to and from the camp location. Housing, meals, facilities use, and classroom materials will be provided by USA Hockey.


OBJECTIVE – To instruct those officials who work at the most advanced levels of competitive hockey (Tier I Junior, NCAA, & Professional). To provide participants with the opportunity to receive high levels of both individual and group instruction on college, international and professional mental-function and techniques, including both on and off-ice environments. This camp is focused on the advance techniques that officials must master to effectively manage hockey games at the highest levels.

PARTICIPANTS – All participants will be invited based on selections made by a committee comprised of top Tier I Junior, NCAA, and Professional officials.

COST – No registration fee required, and USA Hockey will subsidize portion of travel costs to camp location. Housing, meals, facilities use, and classroom materials will be provided by USA Hockey.


Program Dates Location Application Deadline
Eastern Futures Camp July 9-14 Keene, NH March 13
Women’s Futures Camp July 15-21 St. Cloud, MN March 13
High Performance Camp July 7-13 Buffalo, NY March 13
Program of Merit June 24-30 Buffalo, NY Invite Only

Applications must be submitted through online website by posted deadline. Click Here for Applications

Posted in Announcements

Rule Change Proposals

New Rulebook Next Year. In 2013 USA Hockey moved from a two-year to a four-year rulebook update schedule. Consequently, this will be the final year for the 2013-2017 Rulebook. Playing rule change proposals are submitted Playing Rules Committee and reviewed by the USA Hockey Playing Rules Committee. The Playing Rules Committee meets in early winter to discuss and make a preliminary recommendation on each proposal. These recommendations are then forwarded to the various Councils/Sections and Committees and are posted on USAHockey.com. The Board of Directors will review and make any amendments to the proposals during the Winter Meeting and they are again posted on USAHockey.com. The Winter Meeting was held in Orlando Jan. 12-15 and the results of this preliminary review are posted here: 2017_Rule_Change_Proposals.

The Playing Rules Committee will meet one more time during the Annual Congress in an open forum and will review each proposal taking into consideration the feedback received from the respective Councils/Sections and Committees. At that time, they will make a final recommendation on each proposal to be presented to the Board of Directors for adoption or defeat. The Board can accept the recommendation of the Playing Rules Committee or can make their own determination. Once the Board has voted and adopted the changes, work on editing the rule book gets started right away so the new version can be ready at the start of the season. The playing rule changes that are formally adopted in June 2017 by the USA Hockey Board of Directors will go into effect for the 2017-18 through 2020-21 seasons.

Posted in Announcements

Getting Started as an Official

Posted in Announcements