The NHL season remains on pause. There are hopes the NHL will be back this summer, but the educational opportunities for aspiring referees and linesmen aren’t as promising.
Officiating camps are feeling the heat of restrictions and travel concerns, some opting to cancel while others push back dates as the uncertainty continues. Though the specific guidelines vary by state, camps from coast to coast across North America are struggling to manage the restrictions around facilities usage and participant limits, while ensuring the health and safety of campers and instructors.
The Tim Peel Referee Camp announced the cancellation of this year’s camp, already looking ahead to 2021.
Referee Steve Kozari’s B.C.-based Kozari Officiating School recently did the same, as did Ontario’s Don Koharski Officiating School. Koho, though, has online resources available through his partnership with Team Stripes.
The Pittsburgh Elite Officiating Camp has bumped their schedule back, with plans to hold all three events in August. Their junior and senior camp are now slated to run concurrently on August 6-8, with their Prospect Combine scheduled for August 9-11.
USA Hockey has pushed its Advanced Officiating Symposium to 2021. The event will remain in Providence, Rhode Island, but will now be held August 6-8, 2021.
From USA Hockey:
“Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we felt the best way forward was to postpone the event,” said Matt Leaf, director of officiating education for USA Hockey. “We’re excited to be in Providence next year, and we appreciate the partnership we have forged with the Providence Marriott in hosting this event.”
“This is disappointing to say the least, but at the end of the day, safety is our first priority,” said Dave LaBuda, USA Hockey’s national referee-in-chief. “We appreciate the continued enthusiasm of our officiating team to get back to work and look forward to presenting a bigger and better symposium in August of 2021.”
Continuing education and maintaining fitness are always a challenge. For many officials, the challenge will be even greater to continue working at it alone, without the benefit of additional outside instruction, working with peers, and the additional ice offered by summer camps.
(Featured image courtesy PEOC)