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Hockey Needs Help!


by Janet Schultz

There’s a shortage in hockey! It’s not in the locker room, nor is it in management; but it’s both on and off the ice.  Everyone aspires to playing the game and after playing days are over many head to behind the bench or “upstairs.”

There’s another avenue to staying in the game.


“There’s a shortage of on and off ice officials,” said Official Dina Allen. “I think its because of the many challenges of it including working it into an already full playing schedule and having to deal with coaches and parents acting inappropriately and berating officials.

“All of us can foster and grow officiating by being patient and understanding of those willing to learn officiating and do the job.

“It is a necessary part of the game,” continued Allen.

A good time to begin the process is when you are young. The problem is that there isn’t time when you are playing to take the time to learn to officiate and then schedule in games to officiate.

However, learning to officiate will also enhance a players game.

(Photo: Dina Allen speaking at Lockport Hockey Hall of Fame 2018)

Allen began her officiating career after college because it was a good time for her. She had played the game but with beginning her study in law knew she won’t have time to play. She also wanted to make a little extra money. Her husband was an official and so she began her journey into the world of officiating.

“Had I started younger I would have benefitted from it as a player because I would have understood what the refs were seeing and how they interpret the game. That would have given me an advantage,” she said.

Allen, a native of North Tonawanda, played local travel and for the Nichols High School team before heading off to play hockey at Princeton. She played on boys teams through tenth grade and then joined the Syracuse Stars and played senior AAA for the Oakville Ice. At Princeton she led the team in penalty minutes, so she knows a thing or two about hockey rules.

“My first officiating job was a cross ice mite game as a linesman; it was fun,” she remembers.

She officiated at the ECAC D1 level, took USA Hockey regional camps to get certified; took an elite camp for international certification and traveled the world. Then last year she officiated at the highest level at the 2018 Olympics for the women’s hockey competitions.

“Start where you are comfortable, get experience and as you feel more comfortable move up to the levels that are more competitive,” Allen advises.

“The Assigners work with you to find games that you are comfortable with,” she added.

Allen adds that you learn how to manage people and situations. She has also learned about different life styles, cultures and has found camaraderie with the officials as they travel together, which has developed into lasting friendships.

“The biggest take away for younger kids playing is that you learn the game from a completely different persepctive,” she said. “It helps you as a player to better understand the game.”

“I think it would be fun to see coaches go through the process and see what they would do from a refs perspective,” she said. “It would be a definite advantage because of the different perspective.”

“It’s a thick rule book!”

How do you start?

Begin by going to the USA Hockey website (www.usahockey.com) click on Officials; then on Become Official and select Register Now. It will take you through the registration process.

While the sessions for this Fall are already completed, check back at the site for upcoming dates.

NYHOL will try and post the dates for each Section of NY as they become available.

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