Urgent plea issued for local minor hockey officials

Ice hockey game. Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / Modestil

The Bluewater Referee’s Association is putting out an urgent plea for officials for this hockey season.

They’ve experienced a steady decline over the past decade, and have just 40 of the needed 100 refs and linesmen to call games.

President Joel Hodgson said some have already had to work double their normal games and he fears they’ll be burnt out by the end of the year.

“We’ve seen that steady decrease for a number of reasons,” said Hodgson. “The costs of being an official has become more and more expensive, everyone’s time constraints have increased, and volunteers are harder to come by in general these days. I think another contributing factor has been the treatment of officials, which is a widely known issue.”

Hodgson said the COVID pandemic really hurt them, as a lot of officials decided not to return following a two-year hiatus.

He said some games have already been cancelled, and there are fears that more may be axed as well.

“Our officials are doing double the amount of games that they normally would,” he said. “Our big concern is that by the end of the season, all of these referees are going to be tired out because they’ve already skated 200 hockey games in a season and they’re not going to make it to the end.”

The officials cover minor hockey in the Sarnia, Point Edward, Petrolia, and Mooretown areas.

Hodgson said those interested will have to take an online course, and while they are compensated, they’ll be responsible for any registration fees and equipment costs.

You can email bluewaterrefereeassociation@gmail.com for further information.