FAQs for Officials
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The first step is to contact the minor hockey Referee-In-Chief (RIC) in your area to express your interest in becoming an official.
The RIC must approve all new officials because in most cases, there are more individuals interested in becoming a referee than there are spaces available. For this reason, some districts (particularly those in Metro Ottawa) have a selection process in place that may not be described here. Therefore it is important that you gain the RIC’s consent to join the officiating program BEFORE signing up for a certification clinic.
Should your RIC give you permission to join their association, you must then register for a certification clinic. Only those officials approved by an HEO Minor RIC will be allowed to certify. ** All certification clinics that are NOT being held at the Hockey Office which include a level 1 and/or level 2 class will include a new officials class even though it may not listed on the website.
** New officials taking a clinic at the Hockey Office MUST register for a ‘*Official - New Youth Referee Clinics’ clinic, regardless of level or age.
Officials must supply their own jersey, black pants, a CSA certified helmet and visor, as well as a whistle. Elbow and knee pads are also recommended for all officials. All new officials under the age of 18 will be provided with one green armband to wear on the left arm (above the elbow). This armband is mandatory e quipment and most be worn for all games. The cost of new equipment can be significant, and this should be taken into consideration before deciding to officiate hockey.
Many former officials sell equipment through internet classified listings, second-hand sports stores and the local referee associations. Some districts have an equipment lending/rental program in place so make sure you talk to your RIC before you go out and buy anything. The RIC can also provide you with tips about the best brand names and stores.
1. The NHL/AHL/CHL style of officiating jersey with the black mesh under the arm is not approved for use in amateur hockey.
2. The Acme Thunder is strongly recommended. The FOX 40 pealess whistle is not the appropriate pitch for indoor ice hockey.
3. Officials cannot wear a full face-mask
Once you complete your certification clinic, you will be able to go on the ice and officiate. Once you complete your clinic, you should contact your RIC and let him/her know that you have completed your clinic and are now ready to accept assignments. The RIC will explain how the games are assigned in your area.
Hockey Canada requires all officials to be registered each season. Only certified and registered officials can participate in games sanctioned by Hockey Canada, HEO and its member associations. By requiring officials to attend a clinic, Hockey Canada can ensure that all officials receive instruction in new rules and rule changes, while at the same time, refreshing officials’ knowledge of positioning and procedures. This also ensures that Hockey Canada can provide insurance coverage to its participants in all sanctioned games. Level 1, 2, and 3 officials are required to attend a clinic (either in person or online) every year. High Performance and National High Performance officials are required to attend a clinic every second year, in a rule change year. These officials will still be required to register each season.
Check the website for the clinic in your area or the appropriate online clinic. You will need to click on the clinic and follow the on-screen instructions to register for the clinic you wish to attend. Clinic planners need to know how many people will be attending to ensure enough materials and rulebooks are available. Some districts may cap the number of officials on their roster. Do not expect to go to the facility the day of the clinic and be accepted – please pre-register!
You should email the contact person for the clinic you registered for and ask them if they received your registration form.
No. You may attend any clinic held anywhere in the branch that best fits your schedule. If you do attend an out of district clinic, let your RIC know so they will be able to keep you on their active officials list.
Please view the certification page to review the different levels of certification and their requirements.
Officials are not permitted to upgrade to their level 3 at a one day re-certification clinic . Officials who wish to upgrade to level 3 must have officiated at least one full season at level 2, and must then gain the permission of their RIC. The official would first re-certify at the one day clinic at their current level (level 2), and then can attend a special level 3 upgrade clinic later on in the fall. in the season.
Attending a High Performance clinic is by branch invitation only. Interested officials should contact their district RIC for further information.
You CANNOT upgrade from a Level 2 to a Level 3 at the regular one-day clinic. You MUST attend a refresher Level II Clinic at the beginning of the season. Once the season starts, you will need to obtain a recommendation from your RIC, and then you will be required to attend the Level 3 upgrade clinic later on in the season .
No. You must be invited to attend a High Performance clinic. These are normally held every two to three seasons.
Please contact your RIC within HEO. Alternatively if you do not know which district you belong to, you can contact Jeff Baker or Kurt Hewlett at the HEO office
Level 1 or 2 officials who have taken a year or more off are free to return to the level they were currently certified at. Since the level 3 clinic is by invite only, any level 3 official who misses a year of certification will have to return to level 2 and apply for an upgrade. Any High Performance or National High Performance level official who misses a year of certification will have to return to level 3 and apply for an upgrade.
Registration for all full-day clinics will begin at 8:30am. The clinics will begin promptly at 9:00am and end between 4:00 and 5:00pm, with a ½ hour break for lunch.
NO! Hockey Canada mandates that in order to be certified, you must attend the full clinic, and you must obtain a passing grade on your exam. It is YOUR responsibility to clear your schedule of conflicts. Clinic dates are posted early enough so that you can plan your time accordingly.
Clinic costs are posted at www.hockeyeasternontario.com. You can pay by cheque (payable to HEO Development) on the day of the clinic.
Due to the high number of officials at each clinic, officials are required to register in advance in order to participate. Most clinics have a maximum capacity, so officials who are not registered and show up on their own will be asked to leave and attend a different clinic. Make sure you register online to avoid any problems.
Regardless of location, once you register for a clinic, you are expected to attend. If you have pre-registered for a clinic and become unable to attend, you should e-mail the contact person for the clinic to let them know that there will be an additional opening.
Bring the following items:
Pens and pencils
Some paper for taking notes, and for working out penalty situation questions on the exam
Your rulebook if you have one
Most clinics do not have an associated on-ice session. When you register for the clinic, be sure to confirm if there will be an on-ice session.
No. You will be responsible for bringing your own lunch. Participants should bring a lunch as the ½ hour lunch break is not ling enough for participants to leave the premises for a meal.
You will be allowed to rewrite your exam for a $25.00 fee at any subsequent clinic. You will need to obtain a rewrite form from the instructor at the clinic where you failed the test. You can then make arrangements at a later clinic to simply show up to write the test.
Please contact your District and/or Association Referee-In-Chief to see if they have spaces available for new officials.
- New officials will not be tested
- Level 1 officials are required to score a minimum of 70% (25/35) on their exam. A level 1 that does not achieve this score, will be required to attend another clinic in order to be considered certified for the up-coming season.
- Level 2 officials are required to score a minimum of 70% (32/45) on their exam. A level 2 that does not achieve this score has two options:
- The official may drop down to level 1 providing they are under the age of 18 and do not wish to take another clinic
- The official may attend another clinic and re-take the level two course
- Level 3 officials are required to score a minimum of 80% (44/55) on their exam. A level 3 that does not achieve this score has two options:
- The official may drop down to level 2 providing they achieved at least 32/55 on their exam.
- The official may attend another clinic and re-take the level three course
If you didn’t get the score you were looking for on your first clinic and would like to take a re-write you should obtain a re-write form from your instructor at the end of your first clinic. From there you should register for another clinic where you must attend the full day.
The re-write costs $28.50
At the clinic your instructor will be providing you with the following materials:
- Hockey Canada Rulebook/Casebook
- Hockey Canada Procedures Manual
- Crests for your jersey (HEO Minor Branch Crest, Hockey Canada Crest, HEO Number Crest)
- Clinic workbooks or handouts
Note: Participants will only need a pen and paper. Unless otherwise specified, on-ice equipment is not needed at the clinic. Dress casually for the clinic.