The North American Hockey League (NAHL) and USA Hockey are looking for a few more good officials.

The two have combined for the Next Shift Initiative, which is returning for 2023. which looks to help recruit, develop, and advance new on-ice officials. Next Shift targets former hockey players with a passion for the game looking to stay involved and consider their ‘next shift’ as an on-ice official.

Read on to learn more and apply.  Applications are due June 2nd.

From the NAHL:

The North American Hockey League (NAHL), in cooperation with the NA3HL and NAPHL is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the ‘Next Shift’ initiative for the 2023-24 season.

Established in 2022, the Next Shift initiative is a collaborative effort between the NAHL and the USA Hockey Officiating Program to recruit, develop, and advance brand new on-ice officials. The initiative was implemented to target former hockey players who have a passion for the game and incentivize them to take their next shift as an on-ice official.

Operated by the NAHL Officiating Department, which includes NAHL Director of Officiating Keith Kaval and NAHL Manager of Officiating, Kendall Hanley, the Next Shift initiative is carefully designed to provide education, exposure and experience to new officials who are starting their officiating career and who ultimately aspire to advance into higher levels of amateur hockey, junior hockey and beyond. Through the strategic use of NAHL family of league properties, the goal will be to develop Next Shift officials into successful game managers at the NAPHL and NA3HL levels, with the objective of advancing them into the NAHL and beyond.

“We saw some great success stories in Year 1 of the Next Shift initiative. The recruitment and development process were well executed and as a result there was a whole new group of officials that began their journey under our direction and supervision,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld.


Former NAHL goaltender Gavin Nieto was one of those success stories. After leading the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to the 2016 Robertson Cup Championship, he went on to play college hockey at Brown. Nieto returned to the NAHL – this time in stripes – as part of the Next Shift Initiative.



“My journey into officiating has been a fun one. Hockey has always been a passion of mine and once I found out I enjoyed officiating, it took off from there,” said Nieto. “Everyone’s hockey career comes to an end at some point and this game give us so much, so I wanted to stay involved and give back and that’s what the Next Shift has done. You are still involved in the game and still get to make an impact.”

More details are available about Next Shift from the NAHL about the program and its benefits.  Apply through June 2, 2023.