Officials Registration Whistles A New Tune This Season

Dave LaBuda

As we enter the new 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to provide an update of what
changes to expect this season.

The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the District Referee-in-Chiefs, along with testing and online seminar programs.

A new informational video is available that outlines the requirements that an individual must follow in order to complete his or her registration.


One very important change starting this season, an official must first register with USA Hockey in order to register for a seminar. This change is due to a number of officals who did not register with USA Hockey and then ‘no showed’ at the seminar that they registered for. In the past, this has led to other registered officials being denied attendance because the seating capacity for that seminar had already been reached.

This change will hopefully provide more incentive for every individual to complete his or her registration requirements.


Testing Process

The open book testing process has also been modified for this season. A Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85.

All other passing scores remain the same as last year ­— for a Level 1 official it is 35 and for Level 3 & 4 it is 90.

An official taking the open book exam will receive immediate feedback after each question is answered. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference will be given with the appropriate rulebook language.

After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of the missed questions with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open book exam requirement is complete.

If the result is a failing score, the official will receive a summary of the missed questions with rule references. After a seven-day waiting period, the official needs to retake those questions that were missed on his first open book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.

For example, if an official missed 12 questions, his retake exam would only contain 12 questions on the rule references that he originally missed.

Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correct answers will be added to their original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open book exam.


During the Winter Meeting, the Officials Section spent a lot of time discussing feedback about the seminar program, particularly the online modules.

Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both work groups were composed of members who brought a grass-roots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted.

The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application for the upcoming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.


We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level and, based on the user analytics that the first year’s experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.

Once an official begins his first online module he will need to complete all of the online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time period for Level 1 registered officials is 60 days and for Levels 2, 3 & 4, it is 45 days.

If all of the online required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program.

This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to add better continuity to the overall seminar education process.


As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:

•    Register online with USA Hockey
•    Register and attend a classroom seminar (reduced attendance times depending on registration level)
•    Complete the required and elective online training modules within the required time frame
•    Pass the open exam at the specific registration level
•    Pass the closed book exam (no closed book at Level 1) for the specific registration level
•    Complete their online ‘Safe Sport’ training at the end of every two-year cycle

As we constantly look to improve our educational programs we will continue to listen to constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support we cannot move forward. Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process. Implementing those changes to meet the needs of our officiating community is the next step.



Dave LaBuda is USA Hockey’s National Referee-in-Chief.


Photos By Norman Hayward


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