The world of NHL hockey from the perspective of a referee

A Ref's Life

A Ref's Life: The finale of a legend

A Ref's Life: The finale of a legend

by Rory Boylen - April 15, 2010 3:25 PM EDT

While the last day of the season was special for Kerry Fraser, it was a shining moment for another referee as well.
“It was so fitting for his career, a guy that’s been part of so many big games to end his career on a game that was decided in a shootout to decide who goes to the playoffs.


A Ref's Life: The fighting game

A Ref's Life: The fighting game

by Rory Boylen - March 18, 2010 12:00 PM EDT

Whether you like it or not, fighting is a very real part of hockey that linesmen have to deal with carefully and directly.
“I’m not a spectator, I have a job to do.” – Veteran NHL linesman Brad Lazarowich. It’s the most polarizing aspect of hockey.


A Ref's Life: The anatomy of a faceoff

A Ref's Life: The anatomy of a faceoff

by Rory Boylen - March 4, 2010 12:00 PM EST

This week in our regular feature examining the world of officiating, we explore the intricacies of the faceoff.
“The worst thing that can happen is you drop the puck and the damn thing stays in your feet, because they’re just like wild animals coming for that piece of meat.


A Ref's Life: World class

A Ref's Life: World class

by Rory Boylen - February 18, 2010 9:45 AM EST

As the Olympics settle in, we take a look at the adjustments officials have to make to be prepared for international hockey.
When the Olympics roll around every four years, there are adjustments to be made by the players, from the bigger ice to different rules to new teammates.


A Ref's Life: Grassroots lessons

A Ref's Life: Grassroots lessons

by Rory Boylen - February 4, 2010 12:00 PM EST

Shifting gears to the minor hockey side of the business, the author shares three of his own experiences as an official.
“Midget AAA is one of the hardest levels to ref...because of the parents.” – NHL referee. An hour and a half north of Toronto, near the gateway to cottage country, lays a town called Coldwater with a population of about 3,000.


A Ref's Life: Visor vision

A Ref's Life: Visor vision

by Rory Boylen - January 21, 2010 1:16 PM EST

In this edition of our look inside the world of officiating, we explore the past and present of visor use.
“The bottom line is, I tell people who don’t wear visors – mostly when I go speak to amateur officials in the U.S., because visors are not mandatory there – you have to realize you’re not faster than the puck.


A Ref's Life: Van Massenhoven's milestone

A Ref's Life: Van Massenhoven's milestone

by Rory Boylen - January 7, 2010 2:30 PM EST

As the veteran referee prepares for Game 1,000, he talks about his career and his peers chime in on the feat.
“It’s a big deal. That’s a lot of freaking games. It’s sort of a recognition of a lot of games, a lot of hard work, a lot of travel your family puts up with.


A Ref's Life: Stripe speak

A Ref's Life: Stripe speak

by Rory Boylen - December 10, 2009 12:55 PM EST

In our continuing exploration of the world of officiating, we examine the importance of communication among the refs themselves.
“The big time for us to discuss stuff is the TV timeouts. I might ask my partner, ‘Hey did you get a good look at that hooking penalty I called?’ And he might have had a different angle and say, ‘Well you maybe could have let that one go.


A Ref's Life: Learning the feel

A Ref's Life: Learning the feel

by Rory Boylen - November 26, 2009 11:55 AM EST

In our continuing look at the world of officiating, we explore the discretion aspect and how experience is the only way to learn.
“Go buy yourselves new hats. What you need to do is lift the brim of your hat up and get a new level of expectation, get a new horizon, because your horizon is unrealistic.


A Ref's Life: Dealing with coaches

A Ref's Life: Dealing with coaches

by Rory Boylen - November 12, 2009 2:00 PM EST

This week in our exploration of the world of officiating, we look at how refs communicate with the men behind the bench.
“When dealing with a player or coach, I try to be empathetic, I say, ‘Listen, I know where you’re coming from, there was a call missed or whatever, I’d be pissed off at you, too, but this is the way it’s going to be and we have to go on from here.


A Ref's Life: Player communication

A Ref's Life: Player communication

by Rory Boylen - October 29, 2009 11:50 AM EDT

A part of keeping order in a game is being able to talk with players so everybody understands what's going on.
“It’s constant communication and most of them are respectful and appreciate that... Except there’s been a couple guys over the years who just tell you to shut the f--- up, so you know what? That’s fine.


A Ref's Life: Tough injuries

A Ref's Life: Tough injuries

by Rory Boylen - October 15, 2009 11:30 AM EDT

This week in our feature about the world of officiating, we explore how injuries can impact the men in stripes, too.
"I was a police officer with the OPP for 10 years and people used to ask me why I left the police force to go into refereeing and I said: ‘Pucks only hurt; bullets kill.


THN on Twitter

If the NHL expanded into one market, where should it go?








Contests

Our Partners