Shortage of hockey referees in Calgary raising concerns over safety and possible cancelled games – Calgary

Minor hockey associations in Alberta are coping with a referee scarcity this yr.

It has pressured video games in Calgary to go from three officers on the ice down to 2 and typically just one.

The chief director of Hockey Calgary says a few exhibition video games needed to be cancelled this yr.

“We typically hope to get at the very least one official there in order that the youngsters can play as a result of after a yr and a half away from the rink, they’re wanting to get taking part in and the very last thing we wish to do is cancel extra video games and cease children from taking part in,” stated Hockey Calgary government director Kevin Kobelka.

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Kobelka doesn’t recall a yr with such a scarcity. He attributes it partially to COVID-19, resulting from restricted recruiting final yr.

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“I don’t suppose it’s occurred to this extent earlier than. I believe this can be a actual one-off phenomenon due to what we’ve gone by,” Kobelka stated.

“It goes again to officers retiring and new ones not coming in after which even the well being and security danger, some officers may not really feel comfy working in that surroundings.”

In response to Hockey Alberta, there are 1,364 referees within the central area system, however the issue is half of these officers are set to run out within the system as a result of they don’t seem to be licensed.

Hockey Alberta has been busy recruiting and making an attempt to recertify since late August, however lessons that usually have over 30 in a category are all the way down to 5 – 6.

“Come the top of December, our numbers, that 1,364, goes to drop drastically, and we’re going to be telling our stakeholders, which means Hockey Calgary and different native minor hockey associations inside our rural communities, ‘We have now no officers. Sorry,’” stated Dave Coles, Hockey Alberta central area referees’ committee co-ordinator.

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Coles is anxious about having just one referee on the ice and placing younger officers in conditions they won’t be prepared for.

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“Security is a giant factor on the market as a result of the official helps to manage the sport by penalizing gamers and placing them within the penalty field, but when we’re not in a position to determine the penalties as a result of perhaps we’re pushing them a bit fast, perhaps the hockey is a bit quick for them, then we discover ourselves into a security problem,” Coles stated.

For a lot of younger folks, being a referee is their first job — an opportunity to maintain match, make some cash and put useful expertise on their resume.

“They get a possibility to study some expertise they will apply in the actual world, drawback fixing, teamwork and communication,” stated Colin Walker, Hockey Alberta central area grassroots co-ordinator.

Walker can also be a referee in Calgary and stated it’s been a rewarding expertise.

“I find it irresistible. The way in which I have a look at it each time I am going to the rink: I’ve a possibility to listen to an excellent story, be a part of a neighborhood, get some health and get a little bit of pay on the finish of the day,” Walker stated.

For the primary time, Hockey Alberta shall be working refereeing lessons into December to hopefully get extra referees within the rinks and keep away from any disruptions in video games.

© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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