Take Your Passion Off Ice

Matt Nilles

So maybe you feel as if something is missing. Officiating has been a rewarding career. You’ve been at it for several years, during which time you’re pretty happy with the games you’ve gotten and the levels you’ve worked. You’ve made a number of friends, but you feel like there is still something out there.

Consider that your destiny may lie off the ice. Perhaps your challenge now is to “pitch in” or “give something back to the game” by helping your association in the meeting room, boardroom or classroom.

“There are many areas where experienced officials can have a huge impact without being on the ice,” says J.B. Olson, Minnesota Hockey Officials Association skating instructor.

“Attending board meetings, meeting with coaches, players and parents . . . The hockey community needs to have a constant exchange of information between officials and the local playing associations.”

Bob Cunningham has always looked at the idea from a simple perspective.

“For me, it was always just seeing a need and filling it,” says the Central District referee-in-chief of his hockey experience in the St. Louis area.

“Helping out can come in all forms.”

Indeed, the options seem endless.

“The evaluation program is a great place to get involved,” says Jim Dewhirst, Southeastern District referee-in-chief. “I’ve also seen experienced officials go one step further and take a group of young officials and basically ‘adopt’ them for a season through mentoring and evaluating.”

Seminar instruction is a typical route for the first-time contributor. Assistant staff members always seem to be in need.

“I think it’s the best way to start to give back,” says Gary Fiddler, Northern Plains referee-in-chief. “Everywhere I go I see a need for instructors and mentors for mentoring programs.”

“I first got started by helping at local seminars,” adds Olson. “I still remember that I was given one topic—puck drops—and I was really nervous. But it was the start of a career in referee instruction.”

Even if it is as simple and targeted as teaching the skill of dropping a puck, getting involved can be just what you need to take your career satisfaction to the next level.

American Officials Earn International Stripes

Upcoming IIHF tournaments will have an American feel to them as 29 officials from USA Hockey’s officiating program will be overseeing the action at home and around the world this year.
“We are incredibly proud of these officials and look forward to watching them represent USA Hockey in their respective tournaments,” said Matt Leaf, director of USA Hockey’s Officiating Education Program.
“They have all worked hard to reach this level of officiating excellence, and these appointments are testament to their commitment to officiating.”

Referees Rick Looker and Tom Sterns will be joined by linesman Pete Feola at the IIHF Men’s World Championship in Switzerland.

On the Women’s side, linesman Meghan Hishmeh and referee Leah Wrazidlo will call games at the IIHF World Women's Championship in Finland.

The World Juniors officiating crew will include referee Robert Ritchie and linesman David Brown, while the Under-18 Championships in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., will see referees Travis Smith and Keith Kaval and linesmen Paul Carnathan and Johnathan Morrison added to the crew.

Referee Erin Blair and linesman Kelli Rolstad will travel to Germany to oversee the action at the IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship in Fussen, Germany.

Whistle Blower  |  Q&A

Krissy Langley, Minnetonka, Minn.Krissy Langley, Minnetonka, Minn.To call Krissy Langley a “world-class” official would be on-target in more ways than one.

The 26-year-old Minnesotan has traveled the world refereeing elite-level hockey. Observers would call her work in the rugged Western Collegiate Hockey Association world-class.

USA Hockey Magazine caught up to Langley recently to learn more about her many accomplishments in a 16-year career.

USA Hockey Magazine: How did you get started refereeing?
Krissy Langley: At 10, I was very fortunate to have my dad and older brother already refereeing. I was motivated by watching them.

USAHM: Who would you credit for your on-ice success?
KL: It would have to be my father. If he had not put the idea of skating in my head at such a young age, I would never have even tried. When I was 2, I used to chase my dad and brother out onto the ice. So my parents put skates on me, hoping to keep track of me. During the summers, my dad would throw pucks down while I shot them into our garage. He researched and provided the opportunity for every hockey camp I ever attended. Still today, if something happens I am proud of, he is the first person I call.

USAHM: You have worked two Women’s World Championships (Div. III in Hungary, 2008, and Div. IV in Romania, 2007). What do you remember most from those events?
KL: Both were tremendous experiences. I will probably remember the language issues the most. In Hungary, I was more at ease because our supervisor was Canadian. In both cases, the participants always amazed me with their ability to speak English, among other languages.

USAHM: Do you have one game so far in your career that is the most memorable?
KL: I remember a tremendous game from eight years ago at the Chicago Showcase tournament. The teams, Wisconsin and Minnesota, skated back and forth so quickly, and there were few whistles, including goals and penalties. The score was really close and both teams worked extremely hard.

USAHM: What advice would you have for young up-and-coming officials?
KL: Work hard. If a supervisor gives you something to work on, don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Start now and continue to develop your skills. And remember that some of your greatest lessons are learned by making mistakes.



Who is your favorite American player?
Auston Matthews
Jason Robertson
Tage Thompson
Matthew Tkachuk
Patrick Kane
Total votes: 395