Massachusetts is Losing Youth Hockey Referees

Do you enjoy having referees at your kids’ youth hockey games? I know I do. Referees are essential for youth hockey to be successful.

Some parents and coaches are jeopardizing that opportunity by being disrespectful and even hostile towards the referees.

My 14-yr old son quit refereeing before he turned 15 after an intimidating coach aggressively and colorfully told him he was a disgrace to officiating for calling a checking penalty. This was my son’s fourth game officiating. My son won’t make that–or any other–officiating mistake again because he’s done.

As the adults, we MUST be leaders and demonstrate respect for our officials. As a parent or a coach, we set the tone for how the kids respond to the officials.

We have a legitimate crisis due to the poor treatment of our officials. Massachusetts added 254 youth hockey teams in the past three years while losing 325 referees. Referees are fleeing youth hockey rather than subjecting themselves to verbal abuse and physical abuse.

Even the best referees will make mistakes. Cut them some slack, show them respect, or lose them.


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