hockeygear.com blog as I will be posting about my game experiences.
You may know what it's like to be a player, but do you truly know what it takes to officiate some of today's most competitive hockey games? This season I will be refereeing a full slate of games from the youth hockey level, hockey school, prep school, and division 1 college hockey. I travel all over the state of CT, as well as all over the East Coast to officiate games for the ECAC hockey conference. Now just like most players, officials have a pre-game routine as well. For most contests we have to arrive an hour before the game, we stretch, usual have a small bite to eat, and as a crew we talk about any situations that may arise during the game.
We check our rulebooks to make sure we know any rule we may not know about. During pre-game warmups we check the rink to make sure it's a safe playing environment for all players and officials. ( because believe it or not, as an official our # 1 thing is SAFETY ) So once we're sure that everything is safe, and both teams are ready to go, I lace up my Bauer Total 1 skates and we drop the puck. As an official we MUST be ready to deal with any situations that arise during the game ( I.E. penalty situations, goals, and on occasion a screaming coaches and players ) but as officials we must keep our cool at all times, and be professional.
This is where my previous player experience comes handy because I know how emotional the games can get sometime so it helps me deal with it a little better. I also observe what equipment players wear. I must say at the MANY levels I'm seeing more teams with the Cascade M-11 Helmet. When they first came out I didn't see many of them, but as time went on I saw more and more ENTIRE TEAMS at all levels ( high school, college, ect. ) and I remember saying to myself "well that didn't take long" but player wise I see a lot of the new Bauer skates. ( APX and Total 1 ) I also see Graf Skatess and CCM Hockey Skates as well. And I must admit I'm also starting to see the Easton skates again as well.
Before I got my total 1s I would see a kid on the ice wearing them, and I'd ask him "hey how are those skates? You like them? Were they hard to break in? And are they comfortable?" As you would imagine being an on ice official you would want to have comfortable skates. Another piece of equipment I notice is gloves. I see a pretty good mixture of Bauer, CCM, and Warrior gloves. I see a few pairs of Eagles now and then, but I'm starting to see less of those so I would imagine that Eagle gloves are on the decline.
When I was officiating a college women's game at Quinnipiac a few weeks back I noticed that EVERY girl on the ice for BOTH teams had the Bauer 4 Roll Gloves. Every player on both teams also had on the Bauer APX skates or the Bauer Total 1s. As far as sticks go the Easton One Piece Sticks to me is STILL the dominant stick on the ice with Bauer being RIGHT BEHIND them with the release of their new Total One stick.
Now I'm sure you're wondering what kind of equipment I wear while officiating. As mentioned before I'm currently skating in Bauer Total One skates. I wear currently wear a Bauer 4500 Helmet with an Itech 1/2 shield. I also wear a Reebok 7k padded shirt under my referee uniform for a little extra protection. ( with the players and puck moving as fast as they do we need all the protection we can get while on the ice ).
Well that's all for now as tomorrow my weekend on the ice starts as I have a full slate of games Friday thru Sunday. Be sure to check back as I will be posting on my game experiences and with any equipment analysis I have as I continue to talk to the players on the ice, and equipment mangers at the colleges I go to. If you have any questions or comments be sure to leave them here. I look forward to hearing from you all through out the season...