How parents can wreck a hockey game

By Brad Constant, Nov. 15, 2013

We here at The Hockey Ref understand that hockey is a passionate game. Players and coaches are obviously involved, but even parents can add to the environment in an arena. There is nothing wrong with parents cheering. In fact, we support any parent that goes out and cheers for their child’s team. But a parent crosses the line when they swear and berate the refs.

Thankfully this isn’t something that officials have to deal with at every game. Hockey parents as a whole are respectful and understanding. But at a recent game, this writer dealt with one unruly dad.

The atmosphere in the rink was great and the kids were flying up and down the ice. Each team played hard through the first two periods and the game was tied at one goal apiece going into the third. But that’s when the aforementioned dad began screaming and yelling at whatever he believed should be called a penalty or not called at all. Every action on the ice caused him to scream, and he was easy to single out since he was the only parent standing at the glass instead of sitting in the stands.

Such behavior is easy for the officials to ignore. Parents are outside the glass and not involved with the on-ice play. They stay in the stands and those playing the game stay on the ice taking up all of the ref’s attention.

However, this dad began swearing at us, and even worse, the kids. Nothing wrecks a hockey game quicker than such actions. And it doesn’t end there, this same father tried to get to one of the officials at the end of the game – thankfully the coaches were there to escort him back to the lobby.

We share this not to make hockey parents look bad. As a whole, hockey parents are amazing. They are supportive and understanding of everyone involved in the game. They wake up early to take kids to practice, drive long distances to sit in a cold arena while their child plays and pay lots of money so their kid can enjoy such an amazing game.

Instead we share this story with the goal of holding parents accountable across all sports. Your children love you and look up to you. Please act like an adult, do not berate the refs and don’t swear at youth sporting events. Set a positive example, it will go a long way in today’s world.


NHL rightly defends Shark-Sabres no-goal call

intent to blow the whistle call

Referee Mike Leggo makes a controversial no-goal call during the San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres game on Nov. 5.

By: Brad Constant, Nov. 8, 2013

There has been some talk around the local rink about the controversial no-goal call during the San Jose Sharks vs. Buffalo Sabres game on Nov. 5. Many believe that referee Mike Leggo and the National Hockey League officials in the Toronto-based war room blew the call by waiving off what looked like a clear goal. However, the NHL has defended the call under the ‘intent to blow the whistle’ rule, and rightly so – you can read the story and watch the video here.

Whether you agree or disagree, we support Leggo’s on-ice decision as well as the League’s support of the call. The puck obviously crossed the goal line, but only after Leggo clearly lost sight of the puck under Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller. In fact, the only person on the ice who seems to have had eyes on the puck was Sharks’ forward Tommy Wingels. Therefore, the play should have been whistled dead.

But here is where the controversy arises, and Leggo can be called out for making a mistake. To the untrained eye it appears the Leggo does everything right except blowing the whistle at the right time. So what is Leggo’s mistake? Showmanship. He correctly washed out the attempt that hit the goal post so that everyone in the arena knew it wasn’t a goal. But he also held his arms out for far too long in a great impression of Jay Jay the Jet Plane.

We believe there would have been no issues with the call if Leggo correctly washed out the goal in the quick fashion officials are taught. He would have had his whistle in the correct position in time to blow the play dead when the puck was under Miller. Instead he held the signal and put himself in a tough situation in which he obviously had to think about the call. Thankfully he ended up making the right one and did so with conviction.

It was made worse thanks to the NHL’s mistake of not having Leggo put on the headset to talk with the officials in Toronto and discuss the call. As noted in the CBS Sports story, the NHL acknowledges that it messed up here. The pushback and claims of a blown call could have been far less if they got this right.

Either way, the right call was made in the end, and we’re sure that lessons have been learned too.

The Launch of The Hockey Ref

The Hockey Ref isn’t meant to be just another hockey blog. Our goal is to provide readers with a view from not just a player, ref or fan, but rather all three. This three-pronged view is based on over 20 years of playing hockey at various levels, officiating both youth and adult hockey, and being a lovers of the game. Add in a journalism background and the results will be sound, well-written pieces that are current and designed to encourage conversation.

As a reader you can expect relevant post that aren’t behind the times. We will treat every team fairly. We will even have guest writers from time to time ranging from  other officials and players to journalists and fans, with all levels of experience included.

Want more coverage on a certain topic? Let us know. Want to scream and yell at us because you didn’t like the penalty you took during your last beer league game? Look someplace else because, as refs, we support each other and never question another official’s call. Have a question? Shoot us an email.

We’re excited to launch The Hockey Ref, and look forward to what lies ahead.

Thank you – Brad, Editor, The Hockey Ref