This week, a great question came in that I think every official has experienced or will at some point during their career. Although our program strives to ensure every official is mentored or coached at some point during the season, sometimes they don’t get done. As a result, development and advancement opportunities are lost or delayed.
Here is the email and my response:
I am a Level 3 official and I was a Level 4 years ago, I am currently working AAA midget as a Referee have been for about 15 years. I am currently working the MJHL as a linesman. The Question I have is what do you recommend I do, to get to the Referee level in the MJ? I currently ref all the senior hockey in my area. I always seem to get missed in later rounds in Playoffs to work games at the Senior Level and AAA. I just want to know if you have any pointers maybe to help me out. I am 35 years old and am heavily involved in my community with my work. I try to present myself with a respective and professional manner all the time on and off the ice. I am not sure what I am doing wrong to not get the opportunities I feel I deserve. I have not been evaluated in 10 years at any level, I always get positive feed back from Coaches and Players, if you have some advice please let me know.
Thanks for your time and effort.
Thanks for the email and for visiting the Hockey Manitoba website.
Your question is a common concern amongst officials and one that I have felt at many times during both my amateur and professional career. Due to the nature of our role, advancement a lot of times is aided by the right opportunity presenting itself at the right time.
That said, there are things you can do for yourself to potentially secure the opportunity you are looking for. By the sounds of it, you are doing the right things in your area both on and off the ice to present yourself professionally. You would not have the chance to work leagues like the ones you mention without having the ability to do it.
I know that at several times during my amateur career, I had to make calls and get in contact with the people that make the decisions to get a chance. I would call a few of the RIC’s of the leagues I was wanting to work and ask for exactly what I wanted, whether it was line or ref in a particular league. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect and people do get missed, or the RIC’s may not even know you have interest in making the next step. So to that, you have to take the initiative to get in contact with the RIC and state your interest.
I will caution you on one thing, and it is something I learned the hard way. Never, ever say to anyone that you deserve to work anything. You may have earned the opportunity, due to effort, years of service and commitment. Deserving something is you making the judgment that you belong there without proof. Although semantics, there is a big difference when you are on the receiving end of the conversation between somebody saying they deserve something as opposed to earning the chance to prove yourself. Make sense?
The other thing, and again something I had to do myself, is that when you do get the chance, be honest with yourself in how you did. I sincerely hope it goes well when you get the chance, but if it doesn’t, be honest with yourself and appreciate the chance, then be the best official you can be at your current level. I had a lot of success as a linesman when I was in Manitoba, and it seemed to me that the progression would be to referee. After several chances and games that didn’t go as well as I would have liked, I had to step back and look at myself in the mirror. I could easily have kept reffing, got frustrated and in all likelihood quit all together. However, I saw where my strengths were and focused on what I was having success. Although we all want to be the number one guy everywhere, the reality is we can’t always be that person. But there is nothing wrong with being the best at the level you are currently at.
So make the contact you need to make with the RIC and let him know your interest. Be humble when you speak with them, be patient as you wait for the opportunity and if you get the chance, show them that you belong there.
I hope my info helps. Thanks again for the email and good luck as you take this step in your career.
NHL Linesman #82
The officiating world is an interesting dynamic, as although our position itself is not competitive in nature, the competition exists inside of us and between officials. We all want to be working the best games in the highest leagues. This is a positive thing and one that is intrinsically beneficial to any official. We don’t always get what we want when we want it, but excelling at where we are currently lays a strong foundation for success in future opportunities.
Keep the questions coming and be sure to check back. Thanks to W and everyone that has asked questions so far.
On another note, I was recently in Winnipeg for a fundraising social for a friend and fellow official. Once again, the officiating community never ceases to amaze at our support for one another. To everyone that attended, supported or were involved in the organizing, you should be proud of what you were able to accomplish.