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How to deal with the Ref/Linesman

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05-01-2013, 10:26 AM
  #1
ZajacsShakes
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How to deal with the Ref/Linesman

As a Referee, I get a lot of abuse. We all do, but mostly from players/coaches who think they plainly know better, which, 100% of the time, they don't.

So, as a way to help this problem (as I'm sure I'm not the only one who has to deal with it), I stated this thread as an FAQ/insight resource for players, coaches, and fellow officials to learn and share the best ways to deal with us, the 3rd team in the game. I'll also ask we use this to help educate new officials, cause no amount of reading can replace good old on-ice experience.

1) Tone of voice.

We're not deaf, nor slow. We don't need to be yelled at. We're more willing to answer questions, or defend a decision if the conversation is civil and controlled. Yelling at, and cursing at, the ref/linesman can cost your team, and the game, more than the 30 second diversion that a calm explanation can deliver.

We understand that emotions and pride can destroy all rationale, and we officials are also people with pride and emotion, but we try to rein it in. Language is to be expected, but no official will forget you when you off-load on one of us, and will remember when you do something stupid. It's not a proud thing to do, but it's called human nature.

Try to rein it in, be calm, and be respectful. An official will remember this and sometimes give players a bit of leeway. Some are by the book, but most of us are also players, and understand. Respect also goes two ways.

That being said, for you new officials: you are NOT God. DO NOT think you are above the game. You are just as much in the game as the players and coaches. Never yell at a player, even if they deserve it. Don't ever pick favourites. Never shortchange other players for your friends. If you make a mistake, admit it. If you're not sure of a call, conference with your fellows. And this may sound really dumb, but never be afraid to physically check the rulebook during a game. If they players see you're trying to be the best you can be, they'll respect that you're trying to be fair.


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05-01-2013, 11:01 AM
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Jarick
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In my experience, if the refs aren't doing a good job, they probably won't respond well at all if you try and talk to them, no matter how you approach them.

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05-01-2013, 11:08 AM
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My biggest thing is play to the whistle.

If you think you've been hooked, fight to keep hold of the puck or battle to win it back instead of putting your arms in the air and turning to shout at the ref, causing a turnover.

If you think you've been tripped, get up and backcheck instead of sitting on your arse flailing your arms at the ref


And don't cry about being called offside, the play has already been stopped, there's nothing you can do.

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05-01-2013, 11:21 AM
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ZajacsShakes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
In my experience, if the refs aren't doing a good job, they probably won't respond well at all if you try and talk to them, no matter how you approach them.
This is a common problem we've seen around our parts. I think it's the mind set of "I'm the Ref/Linesman, therefor I'm God' that a lot of officials develop. The think that they're the ones who should decide the game.

I'm no fan of the "Let them play" ideology, but at some point, the on-ice crew has to step out of the game a bit and literally let the players play. The on-ice officials are there to govern the game with a neutral, and critical, hand. When they become too involved, it creates problems that can cause the players to become bitter towards officials in general. A lot of this is the officiating crew either being improperly trained, or insecure with their understanding and knowledge of the game.

If you, as a player, ever runs into this, try to talk to the other team's leaders and say, 'Look, let's just be smart, don't loose our cool, and play hard, but not dumb'. Don't give the Ref, or the linesmen, any reason to crack down on the game. Ask the coach, or an off-ice official, to privately speak to the ref about their conduct. If this doesn't solve it, or makes it worse, you can call your region's officiating body can lodge a complaint.

But, having been on both sides of this problem, the best option is to let it go. It's frustrating, I understand, but most refs care less about player opinion, so just let it go. Finish the game, and move on. It's a terrible work around, but it's the safest.


This makes me think of playing a game last year. The ref on the ice was one of my colleagues as a ref (he often was a linesman when I was the ref in a game), and he was being very difficult in a game, making dumb calls and being very unprofessional with players and coaches alike.

Although I was a player, I asked to speak to him in private. He agreed, but I could tell we didn't really want to. When I asked him why he didn't seem to be the great official I knew him to be, he replied that "neither your team or the other team where making the playoffs, so it was a pointless, means-nothing game". I told him that even if this was a game between the 2 worst in the league, it's still a game, and we all paid to play, and that he was BEING paid to work it. I then told him that I knew he was better than this and I hoped he'd mature for the last period of the game.

Although I knew better to do it, I knew that sometimes us officials can view some games as a chore (2 defensive teams can be like this), and was out of line doing so. But, he also realized that although the game wasn't important to standings, he wasn't performing the way he should have been, and that the governing body could be called. He did loosen up in the last period, and called what I consider the best period he had ever done.

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05-01-2013, 11:59 AM
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From my experience, the reason people become refs is because they have some kind of God complex to begin with. They want to ref so they CAN be in control and make their mark on the game. Maybe they're just a minion in their normal job and want an opportunity to "be the boss" but I dont know many refs that dont flat out enjoy being the center of the game and telling everyone else what to do.

The few I know that arent like that, simply do it for the paycheck and couldnt give a damn about the game, dropping pucks on faceoffs before guys are set, looking for any excuse to wave off an icing, not calling penalties so they dont have to stop the game, etc, etc, simply to get the game over with quicker so they can get home early and collect their checks.

Sorry, but I have very little respect for refs and know a few personally and they all fall into that first category.

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05-01-2013, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsykes View Post
From my experience, the reason people become refs is because they have some kind of God complex to begin with. They want to ref so they CAN be in control and make their mark on the game. Maybe they're just a minion in their normal job and want an opportunity to "be the boss" but I dont know many refs that dont flat out enjoy being the center of the game and telling everyone else what to do.

The few I know that arent like that, simply do it for the paycheck and couldnt give a damn about the game, dropping pucks on faceoffs before guys are set, looking for any excuse to wave off an icing, not calling penalties so they dont have to stop the game, etc, etc, simply to get the game over with quicker so they can get home early and collect their checks.

Sorry, but I have very little respect for refs and know a few personally and they all fall into that first category.
Way to lump us all in that category together there buddy. When I started officiating I was just a kid who loved the game and I wanted to be involved in any way possible and I didn't think I could make it as a player.

I'm assuming you play beer league, those traits you describe are the reason they are stuck doing beer league games in the first place.

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05-01-2013, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imaginary Threats View Post
Way to lump us all in that category together there buddy. When I started officiating I was just a kid who loved the game and I wanted to be involved in any way possible and I didn't think I could make it as a player.

I'm assuming you play beer league, those traits you describe are the reason they are stuck doing beer league games in the first place.
I'm the same way.

I skate hard and make the best calls I can even in beer league. I'm being paid to be there and I love the game, players deserve my best effort.

I've received a few comments on how I'm sweating just as much as the players when lining up as a face off. Makes me happy to hear them actually, because they're noticing that I'm working hard.

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05-01-2013, 12:26 PM
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Usually if the refs doing a good job of managing the game and making calls, you either don't need to talk to him or you're in the wrong.

And usually if the refs doing a crap job, he's going to have an attitude with you if you start arguing calls.

Two examples from last summer:

1. I get called for crosschecking. I tell the ref I'm just trying to get position in front of the net. Turns out he called me for a play I made right after that when I shoved a guy over to get at the puck That ref was Jack Carlson, you can look him up if you want...obviously a good player and a good ref.

2. We're on the PK, our guy clears the puck up the boards right into the ref at the line. Ref curses at him and sends him to the box for abuse of official. He's clearly wrong, then when the guy asks him what he was supposed to do with the puck, the ref threatens to toss him from the game and suspend him. I've had nothing but problems with this particular ref.

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05-01-2013, 12:37 PM
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jsykes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imaginary Threats View Post
Way to lump us all in that category together there buddy.
Hence the first three words, "From my experience."

I think many "love the game" or at least had it start that way. But I also know its a personality of many officials.

You dont become an official (in any sport) if you dont have the personality to take charge and let everyone know it. A shy official isnt doenst work out very well.

But even look at the NHL and what is going on with linesman these days in the faceoff circle. The throwing people out and "taking charge" and not just simply dropping the puck is getting to a ridiculous height. These guys want to be the center of attention for those few minutes and are making sure the players and fans know it.

I'm sorry, I'm 42 years old and have seen officials at all levels of play all act similarly. Not all mind you and if you're different, I applaud you and way to go. But many of the ones I've seen save for a very few, are all pretty similar.

And yes, especially in beer league because many of them cant even skate as well as the players so its the only way they can be above the players.

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05-01-2013, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsykes View Post
Hence the first three words, "From my experience."

I think many "love the game" or at least had it start that way. But I also know its a personality of many officials.

You dont become an official (in any sport) if you dont have the personality to take charge and let everyone know it. A shy official isnt doenst work out very well.

But even look at the NHL and what is going on with linesman these days in the faceoff circle. The throwing people out and "taking charge" and not just simply dropping the puck is getting to a ridiculous height. These guys want to be the center of attention for those few minutes and are making sure the players and fans know it.

I'm sorry, I'm 42 years old and have seen officials at all levels of play all act similarly. Not all mind you and if you're different, I applaud you and way to go. But many of the ones I've seen save for a very few, are all pretty similar.

And yes, especially in beer league because many of them cant even skate as well as the players so its the only way they can be above the players.
You seriously think we throw people out of faceoffs to get attention? We do it so the players take the ****ing faceoff properly

If you lined a game yourself you would see how annoying it is when you have to tell the center EVERY TIME to come in straight or put his stick in the right place

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05-01-2013, 12:48 PM
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Infringement occurs on 100% of NHL faceoffs.

It's really annoying, but the lesser infractions can be let go otherwise the opening faceoff would turn into a 30-minute clinic on how to line up for a faceoff.

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05-01-2013, 12:51 PM
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Propane Nightmares
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Oh I've got another one.

If you are going to **** around with the puck on the blue line, don't cry when the linesman calls offside. And how can you possibly know if your teammates are onside or not when you are looking down at the puck?

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05-01-2013, 01:06 PM
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Guys, lets not turn this into a wang comparison competition. If you have nothing constructive to add, don't add anything.

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05-01-2013, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Imaginary Threats View Post
Oh I've got another one.

If you are going to **** around with the puck on the blue line, don't cry when the linesman calls offside. And how can you possibly know if your teammates are onside or not when you are looking down at the puck?
This isn't uncommon for an official to overlook, but shouldn't be a problem to enforce. Most newer officials will overlook this to escape the criticism, and most older will overlook due to lack of caring.

As a player, it's your responsibility to pay attention to yourself, your teammates and your opponent. Don't expect the officials to change their call because you lack hockey vision.

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05-01-2013, 01:20 PM
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I've been reffing for 9 years now, started when I was 18, it takes a bit to get the thick skin but now nothing really gets to me out there.

What i've learned is over the years is just talk to the coaches/player calmy when they have a "concern" over a call that i've made. I will skate over to the bench and calmly tell them how I saw it, more times then not the coach will respond accordingly and that will be the end.

If the coach(s) are screaming and going crazy over everything, i'll skate over to them and ask them to tone it down nicely, or i'll even tell the captain on the ice to advise his coaches to tone it down, usually that works as well.

Obviously there is times when the coach goes overboard, and I will assess a penalty to him, and on the very rare occasion toss a coach.

But there ARE some pretty poor referees out there that bait players and coaches. I was playing in my mens league game last week and the forward comes in on me and shoots the puck, it lands ont he back of the net (NOTE: I did not defect the shot, it landed on the back of the net solely on his shot and nobody touched it). I skated over to try to whack the puck off the mesh but it wouldnt move so the ref finally blows the whistle. I say "outside right"? And he YELLS at me, "YOU TOUCHED IT LAST IDIOT, ITS INSIDE!"

I was completely shocked. Number 1 I couldnt believe how unprofessional he is, and number 2 he didnt even get the call right! Its irrelevant if I touched the puck after it was already sitting on the mesh on the back of the net since it was technically already "unplayable".

This guy is truly was a big winner in life. But its idiots like him that gives refs a bad name.

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05-01-2013, 01:28 PM
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I have no problem arguing a call with a ref... although I would call it lobbying more than arguing. I know that I am in a no-win situation, but if I can't plant the seed that maybe he didn't get one 100% right, he will give it a better look next time. A lot of times I just ask for clarification on what I did so I know what to be careful of. I think as long as the Refs set the stage for what they will/won't call, and stay within that box, it works out all right. There is never an advantage, in my opinion to just chirping at them though. That just pisses them off and you don't have the power to win that fight.

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05-01-2013, 01:31 PM
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There was a "fight" at the end of one of my games a while back when I was still in peewees. I had a guy on the ice, no punches or anything just holding him down during the scrum, the ref skates over and pins me hard against the boards, kicks me out of the game while he has a skate on my glove so I couldn't grab it.

It's amazing what low-lives some refs are at a youth/men's league level.

My experiences with HS and junior refs have been nothing out of the ordinary, bad calls sometimes, a few stuck up but nothing that made me think "wow... This guys a complete ******"

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05-01-2013, 01:35 PM
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05-01-2013, 01:48 PM
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there's one particular ref in my league that anytime he throws a player out for abuse of official that player almost always whines to the BofD, "you can't talk to him at all. you can't say ANYTHING." to which I like to respond, "then why did you? and when he gave you the first minor why did you keep going? oh and when he gave you a 10 minute misconduct why didn't you shut up then?"
I'm a regular scorekeeper so I hear these guys just push and push and push. pigeons learn faster!

on the flip side being a scorekeeper has really paid off in that I get away with a lot more than I should because I know all the refs.

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05-01-2013, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imaginary Threats View Post
If you think you've been hooked, fight to keep hold of the puck or battle to win it back instead of putting your arms in the air and turning to shout at the ref, causing a turnover.

If you think you've been tripped, get up and backcheck instead of sitting on your arse flailing your arms at the ref
This seems to have gotten worse and worse over the last few years. The "palms up wtf" look from players that think there should be a penalty. Most of the time it's the player with the puck, but more and more it's been players away from the play.

"You play...I'll ref."

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05-01-2013, 08:50 PM
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on the flip side being a scorekeeper has really paid off in that I get away with a lot more than I should because I know all the refs.
This is the major problem with beer league refs, they are biased and give their buddies preferential treatment.

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05-02-2013, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ZajacsShakes View Post
And this may sound really dumb, but never be afraid to physically check the rulebook during a game. If they players see you're trying to be the best you can be, they'll respect that you're trying to be fair.
Sorry to say this, but that does sound really dumb. Do you actually carry the rule book in your pocket? If you do and you pull it out during the game, you're showing everyone in the building that you don't know the rules and shouldn't be out there. Your giving ammunition to both the teams to want you to pull the book out every time that there is a question about a call you make.


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05-02-2013, 07:46 AM
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This is the major problem with beer league refs, they are biased and give their buddies preferential treatment.
I don't think it's so much that they are "my buddies" (I only see them when I'm working games. we don't hang out together) than it is that I show them respect both when we're working together and when they are reffing my games.

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05-02-2013, 07:55 AM
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the refs i always have a problem with are the ones that have never actually played the game. guys who played the game get it and dont over ride games. from our experience playing in a mens league for over 12 years now is , dont talk to the refs, no matter how good or bad they are, because chances are the other team will and then you have the upper hand by default.

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05-02-2013, 08:31 AM
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As a beer leaguer, I try to be as respectful as possible towards the refs. Largely because they are doing it because they love it and they don't get paid much. When we play our games at 11PM they have to be there too. Without them there is no competative game.

Sure sometimes they get the call wrong, but over time, as many calls that go wrong against you are equivalent to the amount of calls that are in your favor. The biggest ref whiners tend to be those who push the envelope on the rules.

All that being said, if the game meant more like a professional game or a junior game, then I probably wouldn't be as dismissive of ref mistakes.

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