As the HROfficial I haven’t really brought hockey into the blog much, but I have a couple short “war stories” from the rink that have occurred recently and I felt the need to share.
Story number one is this. I am preparing to referee a tournament game. For those of you who are not involved in the sport let me give a few little nuggets about the game. Parents pay a lot of money for their kids to participate. Parents dedicate a lot of time and travel to playing. Coaches sometimes play favorites and your kid may benefit from this – or may get the short end of the deal.
Ok now were at the game, as I prepare to walk on the ice, one of the coaches asks to speak to me. He openly and honestly says to me, “Ref – were gonna get killed in this game.” He then asked me to watch out for his player so they did not get hurt. There are four teams in the tournament. I am talking to the coach from team A. He told me yesterday team C played Team D. Team D beat team C by 10 goals. Also yesterday the coach of Team A played team C and got beat by more than 10 goals. So given that scenario Team D is could or should beat Team A by 20+ goals; a blood bath by any definition.
Without trying to give anyone a competitive advantage or disadvantage I explained the concerns of the Team A Coach to Team D head coach. He looked at me and smiled and nodded. Unsure what that meant it was unclear as to how the game would play out. Team D scored 3 goals in the first period. They did a lot of passing and working the puck. The game ended 8-0. Team D could have beat team A by 25 goals but the coach made sure it didn’t go down that way. After the handshake at the end of the game I spoke to the coach of Team D and told him that was by far the greatest display of sportsmanship I had seen in the last ten years. He smiled. He went home, and so did I – only I went home with a renewed faith in humanity!
The second story is much shorter. At the start of each game, the Referees must interact with both coaches checking rosters and getting signatures. I choose to introduce myself, shake hands with each of the coaches and then wish them “good luck”. As I shook hands with one of the coaches he was pressing a pre-positioned object into my hand. As I pulled away and opened my hand I found a small tootsie roll. The coach looked at me a smiled and said”It’s to make you sweeter.” I smiled and told him that was good. At this point I don’t even recall if his team won or lost. Again I went home with a renewed faith in humanity.
It is the people like this involved in the sport that make me was to continue to referee until I have to skate with a walker.