Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hockey Officials

Most minor hockey people are bracing for a two-month learning curve as kids are curbed of using sticks or free hand to obstruct opponents.
"We don't want games grinding to a halt and we don't want six guys in the penalty box," said HHC president Peter Martin. Unfortunately, the recertification process of on-ice officials is happening during and after the start of the hockey season. That, said veteran coach and Alliance Hockey coaching mentor Gary McFarlane, could confuse matters as teams experience different officiating standards.
The strict interpretation of the rules was commanded by the sport's governing body, Hockey Canada, but Martin said the phase-in period his organization sought was rejected.
While there is disagreement on how much disruption the new zero-tolerance approach will create, everyone agrees the game will be better for it. "The real plus is that the kids have seen the changes in the NHL and we know the game will be better and (we know) how kids will copy the pros," said McFarlane. "A big part of making it work is going to be patience and a buy-in by parents early in the process."

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