Tuesday night was the first time that I had ever been called on to act as head ref this year. Until this point I have just been a linesman when needed. There was an unofficial/practice game between Germantown High School and the Bantam Travel Team. The elders of the league thought this would be a good chance for me to get some practice in with the arm bands on. I thought the same at first but worried that my conditioning was not up to par for the task being asked.
It wasn't very far into the game when I realized I was over skating everything. I ended up ahead of the play once or twice from over anticipation which I thought would happen before the game. I knew that if one team controlled the puck more than the other one that I would end up in the zone earlier than I would prefer. Thankfully the high school team did put up a good show and kept things from being too lop sided in favor of the travel team. I fully expected the travel team to dominate that game if the Germantown seniors were not playing. Once the game started I did not see one of the star players of the Germantown squad so I was sure the travel team would not be too over challenged. I was however worried about myself being over challenged.
The travel coach said in pre-game that he wanted his guys to get to work on some penalty killing so he would have them take a penalty or two intentionally. This had me a little nervous that I might miss the call that he was expecting to be a penalty call. Worse, I was worried if I did miss the call what might ensue afterwards. (normally a melee takes place) Luckily the Germantown squad never allowed that to happen. Some teams play hockey and others take stupid penalties. It was Germantown's night to do a little of each. Needless to say the travel players got to work on their power play more than the penalty kill. Not to knock the Germantown squad, but they had some good opportunities to even that game up and didn't capitalize on it.
I had one play where a puck was kicked into the net, but thankfully I was on the whistle quick that night and was already shutting that play down before it crossed the line.
I thought things went alright at the end. I don't know how anyone does more than one game a night as a referee. I guess when you get in shape for it the job becomes easier. I can say that I was a little more than tired when it was over. I look forward to the experience of getting to do a few more games like that but also know where my challenge now lies. Thankfully I wasn't hit in the legs by a puck that night; first time in 3 games that hasn't happened. Now if these other bruises would just go away.