ECHL referee Sam Heidemann recently donned the ref-cam for the Fort Wayne Komets’ season opening game against the Indy Fuel.   The ref did a terrific job communicating with the players and benches out there. Take a listen:



Some highlights: 

  • 0:19 – Listen to the boos from the crowd as the zebras hit the ice…   What a warm welcome.
    “That’s a pretty good boo,” Heidemann tells the linesman. 
  • 0:38 – Players notice the camera before the opening faceoff.
    “If you chirp me,” Heidemann advises, “make sure it’s at least funny, alright?”
  • 1:12 – The ref gives a warning to Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski – who wasn’t aware of the rule.
    “We gotta be careful with that little stick flip.  That’s a penalty…    If the stick’s on the ice, you’ve gotta hand it to him. If he catches that or picks it up, I’ve gotta call it.”
  • 1:51 – Holding called on the Komets’ Cameron Wright, much to the displeasure of the 9,493 in attendance.
  • 2:14 – Heidemann swings by the Fort Wayne bench to explain the call to Wright

    “Hey Cam, I don’t want to call that. Like I know it feels soft, right? …   It creates such an advantage. Your guy goes straight to the net.  I’ve gotta call that.”   

  • 2:51 – A shot on net with Fort Wayne in the crease, and the Indy goalie drops hard. You can see the camera movement as the ref shakes his head.
    “No way! No way! That’s a dive”
    Despite the questionable contact, Fort Wayne’s Matthew Wedman and Indy’s Andrew Perrott drop the gloves for a quick scrap, giving Heidemann a front-row seat while linesman Bryan Gorcoff and Chris Williams clear out the  sticks. 
  • 4:03 – Indy’s goalie Zach Driscoll gets run over by his own guy, prompting a quick exchange between Driscoll and the ref.
  • 4:53 – Another post-whistle scrum.
  • 6:49 – A raucous “Ref you suck!” chant erupts from the crowd.
  • 7:13 – Heidemann talks with Komets’ captain Morgan Adams-Moisan about a missed roughing penalty the ref later spotted on the video board during a stoppage. He also warns about a dive from Cameron Wright on the same play. 

Excellent work by Heidemann. This is some Kelly-Sutherland-level of chatter out there, which goes a long way towards building rapport with the players and helping them understand where the line is – and when they cross it.  

Thanks to ECHL ref Sam Heidemann and the Fort Wayne Komets for anorther great look at what happens on the ice from the officials’ point of view.