It’s a weekend of learning from the best for some of USA Hockey’s more experienced officials.
USA Hockey has introduced a new ‘tenured official status‘ starting this season for veteran officials. With it, comes an opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top officials, including those with NHL and Olympic experience.
Over 250 officials from 34 states are expected to attend USA Hockey’s inaugural Advanced Officiating Symposium, which runs July 26-28 in Minnesota. While there’s no on-ice component, this event gives officials with three or more years at Level 3 or Level 4 a chance to network and learn from each other, as well as from some of the game’s top referees and linesmen
NHL officials Chris Rooney, Brian Murphy and Bryan Pancich will be speaking at the event, along with recently retired NHL officials Dennis LaRue, Andy McElman, and long-time NHL linesman Kevin Collins.
They’ll be joined by Joy Johnston, Timothy Mayer, and Melissa Szkola, all of whom have worked the Winter Olympics and other IIHF events, and others.
“As part of our continued evolution and desire to provide the best possible educational opportunities and experiences for officials, we’re excited about this new initiative in the Advanced Officiating Symposium,” said Matt Leaf, who for the last 25 years has served as the Director of Officiating for USA Hockey. “A lot of people contributed to this concept and we want to use this opportunity to recognize dedicated officials and give them a reason to celebrate the “art of officiating” this weekend and when they return to their local areas.”
Topics for the weekend run the gamut, with a focus on more of the mental and psychological aspects of the game as opposed to the technical details. Leadership, rule history, establishing rapport, and dealing with mistakes are all on the table.
From USA Hockey:
Collins, whose NHL career included more than 2,000 games and culminated with his enshrinement into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017, will kick off the event as the keynote speaker on Friday night.
Murphy and Pancich will share their NHL experiences during presentations focused on the art of being a linesman, while Rooney and LaRue will talk about skills need to become a high-level referee. They will also stick around to participate in a panel discussion on the four-official system.
Collins will close out the day with a keynote address aimed at celebrating the strides made by Americans in the game.
Day two will feature presentations focused on the role officials play in maintaining safety in the game, the work ethic and commitment needed to reach the top and how deal with making mistakes. There will also be a panel discussion on how coaches and officials can better work together, featuring national coach-in-chief Mike MacMillan and Guy Gosselin, who led the U.S. Sled Hockey Team to gold at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
The final day’s docket will be highlighted by Tim Mayer and Melissa Szkola talking about the path to success for officials. Both worked the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. That discussion will be moderated by long-time international official Joy Johnston from Great Britain.
In addition to those listed above, scheduled speakers also include NCHC Officiating Supervisor Don Adam, Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna, AHL/ECHL/IIHF linesman Paul Carnathan, USA Hockey National Referee-in-Chief Dave LaBuda, NCAA Referee Steve McInchak, AHL/ECHL/IIHF linesman Pat Richardson, USA Hockey Officiating Education Coordinator BJ Ringrose, USA Hockey Director of Special Projects Lou Vairo, University of Texas Associate Director of Applied Sport Science Matt Van Dyke, and USA Hockey Junior Officiating Manager Scott Zelkin.
“This is a chance for us to showcase who we are and all that we do,” Leaf said. “I don’t think there’s ever been anything quite like this, at least on the officiating side.”