Specialized ProfessionIamA female hockey referee who has worked all levels of women's hockey, including professional women's hockey and the Canadian Olympic Team. AMA!
Feb 28th 2018 by frozennie • 20 Questions • 237 Points
Hi! As the title says, I'm a female hockey referee. I am 21 years old and I've been officiating hockey for nearly ten years. In the women's game I regularly work in the college/university leagues and the CWHL, the women's professional hockey league in Canada. I have also officiated for the Canadian Women's Olympic Team during their cross-Canada playoffs.
I also work men's hockey, which is substantially harder to move up in, especially as a female. The highest level of men's hockey I regularly work is Major Midget hockey, which is an elite provincial league for 15-17 year old players. I've also attended international tournaments in Canada for men's hockey at the Bantam (13-14 year old) and Midget level.
I work all levels right down to novice/mites/tykes, especially in my hometown. On average I skate 3-4 games a week and otherwise I'm a full time student.
My proof is here: https://imgur.com/a/acEkl I can submit further proof to the moderators such as photos of me on the ice or footage of games I've worked, but as team's logos/names are easy to google and give away my location with, I'd rather not share it publicly!
It's got to be asked, Do you know what Goaltender interference is? And can you explain it to us please?
My understanding is this: goaltender interference is when a player of the attacking team deliberately interferes with the goaltender's ability to make the save, OR if the attacking player makes no attempt to stop themselves from making contact with the goalie after being hit/pushed. So if the defending player hits the attacking player into their goalie, the attacking player has to at least make a visible attempt to TRY and not hit the goalie.
That being said, I have NO fucking idea what the NHL review is doing with the goaltender interference at times. I can't predict is any better than you could! Remember that the NHL is a game, but it's also an entertainment industry - they want the games to be exciting and get people talking.
I've got so many questions for you.... What do you study? Do you see yourself working as a full-time referee in the future? What was your most memorable game that you participated in? What was the funniest or most embarrassing moment as a referee? How could we make ice hockey more attractive to girls?
Thanks for answering any of these 😊
Hi! I study environmental science in school, which has absolutely nothing to do with refereeing, I just like it! I'm graduating in a year and hoping to do a Master's degree next.
For women there is basically 0 opportunities to work full time as a referee. I already work the women's professional leagues and they pay about 60-100$ per game and there's about 30 games per team per season, so even if somehow I worked every single game I wouldn't be able to live off that. The other option is to pursue a career in men's hockey, which is incredibly difficult for a woman to do. As I said, I work the Major Midget men's league, which is already difficult for women to get into. For context, that league in my area has ten teams and about 350 games all season. Each game requires 3 officials, so there are about 1050 spots open in those games all year. There are three women who work that league in my zone and we each do 1-2 games per month, so say on average about 8 a season each, or 24 of the spots, or about 2% of all of them. In leagues higher than that, female officials basically drop to nothing. It's not impossible to get higher (and I'm part of a small wave of young female officials who are trying to break this hockey "glass ceiling") but its an upwards battle and I don't think within my career there will be any women working full time in any professional or semi-professional men's hockey leagues, but hopefully someday!
I've participated in a lot of memorable games! I would say the most memorable was the provincial gold medal Bantam game I did at the end of last season - it was the first time in many, many years that my town's elite team had been in the gold medal game, and the entire rink was packed to capacity, which is about 2000 people. The energy in the arena was insane and I had the opportunity to work with two of my best friends. Overall that was a great experience and I was honoured to be a part of it.
I've also had a lot of embarrassing moments... I'm nicknamed Bambi Legs because I'm tall and gangly and I fall down a lot. Once I lost my footing and fell in a way that I slid directly into the net and the goalie of a team and he fell on top of me. Oops.
Female enrollment in ice hockey is on the rise, which is awesome! Continuing to have the Olympic team travel around Canada is great for exposure, and just continuing to grow the women's game at the top level and working more to get it out there in the public eye (broadcasting the pro women's games, for example) is a great way to introduce little girls to hockey in my opinion. If they never see grown up women playing the game at the top level, they can't imagine themselves doing it!
Thanks for the questions!
Thanks for your reply, it's great to hear an informed perspective. I like the idea of changing coaching strategies to have college women keep their heads up, other then being ready for contact that could lead to improved play making abilities.
Just a quick follow up question inspired by your reply, how much of a problem are parents at the minor level? Parents seems to be getting more aggressive/involved every year, do you think this is true? Do you have any idea why this is or how we can change it? Thanks again for doing this ama!
Parents are definitely... uh, out of control at times. I can't really say if it's been getting worse over the years, but there are definitely many, many examples I can think of of times that parents have totally lost their cool.
A particular example I always think about is the time I was about an hour early to my game one afternoon. The game before was novice (7-8 year olds) and the referees were two first year, thirteen year old kids I knew. I was sitting in the stands watching the game and the parents were just acting like complete buffoons. They were yelling, screaming, and cursing at the referees the entire time I was there. Finally near the end of the game I turned to the mom beside me and said, "You know, you shouldn't yell at the refs. They're just thirteen year old kids." She replied with, "Well, they deserve it because of the shitty fucking game they're reffing!" I said something about how it actually looked like they were doing a great job, to which she told me to fuck off because I clearly knew nothing about hockey. I just smiled and left and emailed a complaint about that team.
Anyway, I think my biggest problem is that parents want to blame everyone else for everything. They don't seem to want to teach their kids personal responsibility or how to overcome obstacles. Instead of telling their children, "sometimes things are unfair and you have to keep your head up and work through it," they want to teach them, "it's that fucking ref's fault you guys lost the game he's a total fuck head." In my mind, teaching your children to blame and curse the officials for everything that doesn't go that way is setting a poor example for life. In life, people make mistakes and injustices will happen against you and you can't just complain and bitch about it. Successful teams and players are those who work their best through whatever is happening to them.