Article By: Jen Ewacha, Director of Publicity Ringette Manitoba
“Brutal Call Ref”, “Did you forget your glasses?”, “What kind of call was that?”, the list of comments directed towards officials is endless. If you have ever stepped on the ice as a referee, you know it takes elephant skin.
We all know these comments are never welcome and should never be spoken. As a referee of seventeen years, I can say that it has given me an alternative perspective on both sport and life, and it gives me the opportunity to grow, coach and mentor our new officials, and still allows me to be involved at an elite level in the sport that I love. At the end of the day, we need strong, capable officials to continue to make the sport that we love even better. Training and developing our officials is a key component to improvement, game consistency, and retention.
If you had an opportunity to attend the pre-season tournament, held at Dakota from October 19-23, you would have noticed a few differences – there were referees with headsets attached to their ears and helmet cameras running during the games.
The Dakota preseason tournament has been designated a referee development camp by Ringette Manitoba. It is utilized not only as an opportunity for players, coaches, and fans to get ready for the season – but also as an excellent development opportunity for our officials. This is great for our Level 1 and Level 2 referees to be mentored, coached, and evaluated at the end of the weekend. It took thirteen evaluators, including six new certified ones at the community evaluator clinic that ran in parallel with the camp, to make this happen. A total of 38 evaluations were conducted, putting us ahead for the season with approximately 38% our annual evaluations complete. We’ll have a team of 103 on-ice officials this season with 80 actively taking games. Compare this to last season where we had a team of 108 with 61 actively taking games. While the total number appears down – we have more active referees this season, and given that we have only 16 new recruits – vs 27 last season – it shows that we have greater retention this year over last. Last season was the inaugural year for the development camp and we believe that the support officials received through initiatives such as this camp have contributed to that improved retention. A total of 63 officials received a form of coaching, mentoring, or an evaluation over the weekend.
In addition to this, Paul Shipman Director of Officials for Ringette Manitoba, conducted a Community Evaluator clinic on Thursday, October 20th and we now have an additional seven certified community evaluators.
In a personal interview with Paul, a few of his goals are outlined below:
An aside, you are the new Director of Officials. What are a few of your goals for this season to continue to develop our officials?
- To create a feedback culture where all referees are comfortable both giving and receiving feedback and where everyone is working towards incremental improvement.
- To engage more of our officials in the officiating community and in recognizing the opportunities to perform both athletically and mentally. To convince those who think it’s “just a job” that it can be much more.
- To work to engage more tournaments to offer supervision and feedback throughout the season.
- To work towards improvements in the sport’s relationship with all game officials to increase retention, and ultimately tenure which will result in improved consistency in game performance in a few years.
- To implement programming to develop greater consistency and performance in shot clock operators and timekeepers – and to provide support to all game officials so that they can work to set goals and put in the effort to achieve them.
- Lofty, non-immediate goals would be to have 2 referees represent MB in the same CRCs within 5 years, and 4 within 10. To have 2 or more Shot clock operators representing MB in CRCs and 1 @ CWGs in 2019.