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The Folks Behind The Glass

Photo courtesy of Rebekah Bing Photography: The NYTEX Sports Centre ice would remain empty if not for the men and women who volunteer their time to work behind the scenes as Off-Ice Officials.

By: Howard Stone Director of Off-Ice Officials Lone Star Brahmas

Everyone knows that a game has 12 players and depending on the level of the game 2 to 4 Officials, but did you know that most games need people to help put the game on. These people normally do not get recognized, or people don’t even know about them.

They are the Off-Ice Officials, the men and women behind the game. These people not only play a very important role in a game but are also an extension of the On-Ice Officials. Over the next few weeks we are going to give you an inside look at what these volunteers do and what kind of a role that they play.

This week’s topic:  The overview of the Off-Ice Officials.

The Off-Ice Officials have several different positions:

  • The Director of Off-Ice Officials
  • The Official Scorer
  • The Clock Operator
  • Penalty Time Keeper
  • Penalty Box Attendants
  • Goal Judges
  • Public Address Announcer
  • Statisticians (several different things are kept depending on the league)

 

Off-ice officials are considered an extension of the on-ice officiating team. In order for the game to run smoothly, a good group of off-ice officials are necessary to assist the on-ice crew. In keeping with the role as teachers, the on-ice officials need to work effectively with the off-ice officials who, oftentimes, are volunteers who have minimal knowledge of the intricacies of the rules.

Every hockey game requires the participation of numerous people. Players, coaches, and officials make up the most visible faction of a youth hockey game. Slightly less visible, but equally important, members of the officiating team include the off-ice officials. The game could not take place without someone willing to keep score, operate the time clock or monitor penalty situations. Previously, these dedicated volunteers were known as minor officials. However, it is USA Hockey’s belief that the individuals who dedicate their time at the rink to serving in these capacities play an important role in the efficient conducting of the game. In reality, they are an extension of the on-ice officiating team. Even though their powers are limited, their responsibilities are a necessary part of successfully playing a game. In essence, they are assisting the on-ice officials in the overall conducting of the game. With this in mind, we prefer to refer to them as off-ice officials and when working in coordination with the on-ice officials, they form the officiating team.

One of the roles of the off-ice officials is to serve as a liaison between the officials and the teams both before and after the game. The off-ice officials will be responsible for securing the game rosters from each team prior to the start of the game. After the game, they will ensure the scoresheet is properly completed and signed by the officials and will distribute a copy to each team, with the appropriate copy going to the league office. Any questions that may arise concerning the length of the game, suspension of players or variations to the rules should also be addressed by the off-ice officials. In this role, the off-ice officials are contributing to the on-ice officials ability to avoid conflicts or perceived bias towards one team or the other. Of course, the on-ice officials will be willing and available to offer assistance or answer questions, when necessary.

As part of the game officiating team, it is important for the off-ice officials to remain impartial at all times.

Another important role of the off-ice official is to monitor behavior in and around the area known as the penalty benches and scorer’s bench. Players who have been penalized, may behave in an unsportsmanlike manner by trying to incite an opponent, use obscene or vulgar language or be disrespectful to the off-ice officials. In addition, these penalized players may be harassed by spectators leaning over the glass. In many instances, this action may be unobserved by the on-ice officials. It is the responsibility of the off-ice officials to report these incidents to the on-ice officials during the next stoppage of play. The on-ice officials are then charged to take the appropriate action, including possible assessment of additional penalties. Finally, the role of the off-ice official includes undivided attention to the game in progress. The game clock must be stopped and started at the appropriate times and special attention should be paid as to whether the clock is functioning properly. Penalty expiration situations must also be handled smoothly and efficiently in order to create a fair playing environment.

 

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