May 13, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; NHL referee Kevin Pollock (33), linesman Jay Sharrers (57), linesman Shane Heyer (55) and referee Brad Watson (23) talk at the start of game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The Third Team

Mar 7, 2012; Buffalo, NY, USA; NHL referee David Banfield (44) during play between the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE

Hey guys tonight I will be talking about the guys you love to hate. The on ice officials (The referees and linesmen). If your a fan of any team at any level you have cursed or yelled at an official. I sure have. Let me tell you these guys have a tough job, trust me I know as I am a registered USA Hockey official. The game moves so fast you literally have a second to raise your hand to make a call. I have made bad calls before and I assure you a coach spitting hateful words towards you  is the last thing you want to hear. That’s why after every Admirals game I high five the zebras because they are the third team on the ice.

Officials are athletes too. While players take shifts that on average last about a minute, officials are on the ice 20 minutes plus stoppages before they can truly take a break. However at the minor hockey level we only get 60 seconds between periods.  Most of the time our breaks are spent talking like this “hey keep an eye on 17 blue!” Or “hey you missed that hook” etc…

If you do well at the grassroots level and you have potential you can go to regional USA hockey  officiating camp that is in the summer and its always done by regions. If you get noticed there you can go to national camp and get an opportunity to be part of the official development program. If you get that gig you will go work in the top junior leagues in the country (USHL, NAHL) and some college leagues as well as the SPHL which is a low level pro league. After that most guys get hired by the ECHL, CHL or AHL!

Anyway have you ever wondered about what the officials get paid NHL/AHL contracted referees make $50,000-$60,000 per year, AHL Refs make $325 per game, and Linesman make less.
However they do get paid for millage, gas, hotel and food.

On-ice officials travel and log so many hours behind the wheel or on a plane that it would even make Evan Oberg sigh. While on the road remember these guys have to stay in shape that means they are working out in their downtime.. The motto is be in the same shape, if not better shape than the players.

The competition to make it to the pros is a fierce one.  The roster slots for the pros are so limited, you have a better shot making a pro  team then becoming a pro official.  It takes years and alot of good evaluations and good words from your supervisors and RIC’s to make it to the bigs.

The other big part is that your watching the game from a fans standpoint and the officials are watching it a different way so when you yell at a ref for missing a call there is probably a reason why he didn’t call that. If you think you can do it better put on a pair of skates and go to a seminar and get certified. I guarantee you will be surprised HOW MUCH YOU WON’T KNOW ABOUT THE GAME until you see it from an on-ice officials stand point.

Mix in a follow on Twitter- @bauerhockeydude

April 7, 2012: Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Sean Bergenheim (20) collides with referee Ian Walsh (29) during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

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