Thursday, November 23, 2006

I could have been a contender!

Wow, I never knew I shared the same day of birth as a real hockey great. I feel honored.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No more hair helmets!

This is worth another post today. I never thought I would witness this in my life time. What is the world coming to?

Let's Take A Look at a Hockey Referee

Here is one of my favorite training tools out of Hockey Canada and the Ontario Hockey Officials Association. I repost it places from time to time to remind people who my brothers and I are.


Let's "take a look" at the official who is alleged to be responsible for the inability of players to score goals and teams to win games. He is the living barrier who mysteriously transforms victory to defeat. What are his qualifications and is there anything to be said in his defense?

In the first place, the IDEAL referee must be an apt student, who is letter perfect in the laws of hockey and their interpretation. Unlike judges in our courts, he must see the crime, identify the offence, and hand out the sentence - not later in the day, tomorrow or next month, but all within seconds.

Next, the IDEAL referee must be a good skater and physically sound. A player can get frequent relief, but officials must be on the ice for the entire game. Moreover, hockey officials are expected to act as peace officers and prevent crime by restraining angry players who are intent upon "beating up" their opponents.

An IDEAL referee, and there is no such person, should have the speed of a sprinter, the endurance of a marathoner, the tact of a diplomat, the mind of a professor and the unruffled demeanor of a supreme court judge. It would also help if he had 20-20 vision and was stone deaf.

Fans, players, coaches and management alike expect too much of officials. Few players ever think their sentence was deserved; coaches shriek in anguish at a borderline off-side call; and fans view with alarm, every decision that goes against their favorites. Yet contrastingly, a judge has his judgment appealed and his decision repealed without loss of prestige. No less than perfection is expected from the versatile hockey official.

It is an old but valid argument that referees don't make the rules; they are merely agents charged with the responsibility of enforcing the laws as provided by the rule book. The fact that players trip, charge, spear, or high-stick is not the referee's fault any more than a police officer is responsible for the actions of offenders who break society's laws.

Few men are so constituted that they can suffer silently while they are publicly criticized. While it is unlikely that hockey's governing bodies will do much to ease the referee's life while the sport is enjoying a prolific boom, it does seem that there should be less official criticism of referees and linesman. For instance, it isn't fair to second guess them with slow motion film. The man on the ice has to call the play instantly; he can't wait for the crowd to tell him and he can't see what goes on behind his back. Neither can he ponder over border line incidents in his private chambers or delay a decision momentarily while waiting the instant replay. He just has to do the best he can based on his years of experience. He doesn't expect to be popular; but he has a right to be recognized as the representative of the law makers and to be spared from public humiliation and criticism from those who are themselves involved in the development of the sport.

Certainly, hockey cannot exist without officials; so we had better learn to live with them and, who knows, we might even learn to like them.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nice Night for a set of Orange Bands

Wednesday night was the first time I had been asked to wear the bands for a set of high school games this season. I just received my new ref sweater with the sewn in bands which I was thrilled to get to try out. I also got my first ever set of shin tights and some new runners for my t-blades.

The sweater worked out awesome, the shin tights did what I wanted, and the t-blades put me on my ass more than once that night. Nothing better than watching a hockey official fall down. It's way more memorable when you are the head ref of the game too. I got lucky in that game and it wasn't anything with my skating skill that took me out.

I was at about mach 2 headed down the ice chasing the play when a player came from the bench for a line change. Let's just say he didn't stand a chance. He forgot to look both ways before crossing the railroad tracks and got hit by locomotive BluesCityRef at full speed. The only way to attract more attention would have been to had an explosion happen at the same time.

Luckily no one was hurt during the collision (most importantly me) and I was able to spring back to my feet instantly. That was just the beginning of the night for everyone.

Earlier in the day a phone conversation had frustrated me. When she called me back later I was on the way to the game so I ignored the call. I don't ever do that to anyone (especially her) but I had to get my head straight for the game and was afraid something might rattle my mental capacity right then. I turned on the music loud in the car to try and focus on something else. It didn't help.

Come game time I wasn't dwelling on anything left over but it had to remain in the back of my mind. Hockey's an emotional game and sometimes the days emotions can carry into it. At the end of the game I had called 14 penalties on one team and 13 on the other. I broke the record for most calls this year by 6. I was fired up enough that I wasn't taking shit from anyone. A little mouthy-ness was worth a trip to the box that night.

I had two coaches in penalty trouble and one player in jeopardy of not being able to play their next games. I've never had a night like that in my career ever. I'm usually the ref that lets things slide and get evened up. Guess I should go to the rink a little pissed more often. Nah, then none of us are having any fun.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

19 Games later

Well I have 19 games under the belt since October 7th and am still heading forward at full steam. I really couldn't have counted on the problems that I have not had with my skates this season so far. They were rubbing early on but I think my ankles developed some callis' which have helped stop the pain this season.

I thought that I was going to have some issues and end up bailing out mid way through the month. So far nothing of the sort has happened which I am thrilled about. My injury level is at an all time low since nothing is bothering me at the current moment. I can't wait to see how the rest of the season goes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

High School Jamboree

Well I got my first taste of being on ice for the season. We ran a 4 man system just to keep everyone from being killed first time out. 4 man is a little different to get used to but was beneficial since we could concentrate more on penalties. It's going to be a hell of a challenging year to do that without a parnter. We should be in pretty great shape at the end though.

Can't wait to see where things go.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Well I have re-registered to be an official for the forth year. Maybe this time I can actually come up with my level 3 credentials. Last year I took the open book exam without opening the book and missed 12 questions. That was two more than allowed. Before I knew it 30 days had passed and I didn't have the chance to fix the two questions so I was lowered back to level 2 for another season.

Quite humiliating when it comes down to it. I caught alot of hell from the state supervisor for that. Especially considering I am a senior official in the area.

I just got done watching the rules & emphasis video for this season. I am actually happy to see a well done video that will be shown to parents and coaches regarding all of the changes. This year will be hell for the officials on the ice considering all of the interpretation changes that are going to be enforced.

It should speed the game up and at the same time slow it down. We'll see how it goes in the first couple of games to know how it's going to go.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Getting in shape again...

Well its that time of the year again where getting back in shape is essential. I actually made the trek to Decatur, AL to get some time in on the ice. There will be a greater demand this season for senior level officials than there has been in the past. USA Hockey has decided to adopt the NHL style of rule interpretations.

I'm pretty sure that means I'm going to have twice as many parents bitching about calls that are made this season. More disciplinary meetings to rule what happens to coaches and players that are in trouble for too many penalties in one game. It should make for an interesting season none the less.

Lots of travel this year since the Desoto Center is also going to house an indoor soccer team. I'm not sure why they would want to try that since no indoor soccer team has ever been able to make it in the Memphis area. I remember being one of the very few people at Rogues' games in the 80's. We'll see what happens after a year but in the meantime it will mean lots of trips to Decatur for Memphis Youth Hockey games.

With all of these variables to be overcome the most significant will be good health. I have done much this off season to wreck my well being but I am lighter than I have been in a long time so hopefully that will work in my favor. I'm about 5 or 10 pounds over my playing weight from when I was a teenager. I didn't think I would ever be this light again. Normally in the summer I put on weight not loose any. It should make starting training a little bit easier since there won't be as much weight to stress joints. We'll soon see I guess.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Game Over

The season is officially over now. It wasn't as long as others I have remembered. It was one that bothered me in the end since I couldn't stay healthy or without some kind of problem.

Skates have plagued me this year along with some sort of ankle or foot injury because of it.

I discovered t-blades a little too late in the year. Hopefully they are going to be the best answer for the start of the next season. I look forward to it and will start working out now to prepare.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Foot ache

Wow I haven't had a blister since I was at Mohegan Sun Casino last summer. I can honestly say this is the worst one I have had in my life. I hiked 88 miles through Shiloh National Park in one year and dealt with many blisters during that trek. I've never had anything as bad as what my skates left on my foot the other night.

I woke up to this fluid filled monster the next morning. After deflating it I got my odds and ends done and went to a couple of casinos. On the way home I hit the local Wal-mart for some food and other assorted items. It had seemed alright until I quit moving. Now it is just a painful reminder of my skates not fitting the way they should.

I've only worn them once this season but I had them baked last year when I purchased them. Now I know my foot is more than likely not the same shape as they were when I bought them but the pain I have now is crazy. They have to be close to the same shape as they were when they were baked. I am going to have to find a solution to this now but I have an idea.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ultimate Pain

Well the t-blades themselves performed terrific in the games I had to officiate. The boot however gets a huge failure mark. I was in terrible pain after the second game. I ended up having to give away my last game to another guy that was there. Thankfully he was able to pick it up or I would have been in a tough spot.

Luckily my ankle became the least of my concern for the evening. There is something seriously wrong with it however. It has a nice lump that does not match the other one.

I'm glad that I don't have any games on a professional level anywhere. I would seriously feel like shit having to call a league supervisor and explain that my health has become a problem. I will correct that this summer unlike the last two. It's tough at the age of 28 to accept the fact that your physical fitness is not where it needs to be so your body will recover from injuries quicker. I am officially over the hill as an official and only a good physique will be the thing that can keep me in the game.

Hopefully it won't take too much work to get there since I am truly not heavy. I just hate to run. I am currently researching a plyometrics workout that will help develop more speed. I definitely will be taking a break from the beers and cigarettes I seem to enjoy on the weekends lately.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

t-blade playing test

I tested out the t-blades tonight playing in an adult game and they are loud but awesome. My team honestly thinks I just had that much energy but doesn't realize that the blades and chasis did a lot of the work tonight. They were so light when we were in the 3rd period I was beating guys to loose pucks and giving chase which I would never normally do. The difference being that the blades were much smoother and lighter I didn't have to burn as much energy to get down ice.

The ultimate test comes tomorrow. I have 4 games to officiate and that will be a lot of time on them. I expect my foot to cramp and be in pain but only because the skates have not truly been broken in.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Public Skating

Why do they call it that? If you're skating in a rink is there ever a time when you're not doing it in public?

Anyway I got to go to a post game skate the other night and tryout the t-blades on the Tacks that just came back in from Nashville. I actually didn't have any problems skating on them. I was looking for something to bother me and having to re-learn to skate on them. In actuality I like them better then when they had the CCM holder on them. I am not sure if I will be used to the edge but everything felt alright. Even the boot felt better than the last time I was out on them. I think the new chasis is helping to put my foot into a better position which is causing less pain in the arch.

I can't wait to put them into a serious test. I think I might even put the runner with the shorter rocker and deeper hollow on them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Can't take the pain anymore. I broke down today and sent the CCM Pro Tacks I bought last year to Nashville to have the t-blade system installed on them. I really wanted to go to Nashville this weekend and work a tournament but I was afraid after that many games that I might not be able to skate anymore for a while.

I need to be able to skate the next week because I have the important games coming up. I have a set of playoff games for the high school league that week. Since I don't want to deal with a bruised ankle again I decided some drastic measures were going to have to be taken. A trip to the local Fed Ex spot and off they go. A trip on a jet airliner and they will be fixed and on their way back to me. I wish they had gotten done earlier so I could have skated in them for the first men's league game this week.

I am excited to see how much I like or dislike them.

Monday, January 30, 2006

9 Days Off

I get 9 days off since my company is sending me to Primm, NV. Where the hell is that you ask?... about 41 miles from Las Vegas and really close to California. I could use the time off my skates since I seem to have a bruise on the bone of my ankle. The tongue of the skate really is digging in right there and keeps me in pain for some reason if I have them on. It might be time to retire them and pick up another pair.

I get to spend a week in the desert hopefully there will be something to do since it is so far out of Vegas. I would have taken my gear with me and got a few games out there but of course injuries have plagued me all season this year.

I fought off a groin strain around Christmas. Thankfully we had a two week break for the holidays. That helped recovery tremendously but my first game back wearing the bands was tragic with that much time off. I fought off an ankle problem early in the season but now it is bruised which is the same as injuring it. I am scheduled for 5 games this week as an official and am supposed to play in one. Needless to say I will ref one and skip the playing.

I am not sure why I even had the league admin put me on a team since I am never in town or physically able to play.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Hey Ref, Get A Dog!

The most original put down we have ever heard come from a fan's mouth. At least it wasn't the normal cliche crap that they often think means something to us. I often laugh at them for using the same lines game after game. It gets old really quick but they don't seem to think so.

You've got to call it both ways... still my favorite one to hear coming over the glass. Funny thing is I still don't understand exactly what that means to this day. How do you call it both ways?

I am a hockey official. My job is to keep the game safe and fair. Safety first and fairness second; the fans are always willing to let us know when either objective has not been obtained. The objectives are the thing that crack me up about the "calling it both ways" comment. You can't stay safe and fair and even off penalties just because the crowd thinks you should. Someone is always going to be mad; I'm fine with that.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Too many fights....

Wow, is all I can say after last night's first game of the evening. It was a very hard fought game between two teams I would have never thought were an even match. We were about 3 minutes into the first period when a scrum started in front of one of the goalkeepers.

Punches were thrown and since I was one of the linesmen I got the pleasure of going in to break it up. It wasn't too tough going in and locking them up but I remember the one that I had to take being a little taller than me and being really fired up. Once I had him pulled away I had to remind him not to start punching on me or resisting or he would get the skate of shame. I hate that.

Interestingly enough, the guy that started the first scrum got the skate of shame later in the game. He ended up with a few too many double minors and got the gate for 5 penalties in one game. Serves him right he was the trouble maker the entire game.

I only had three games left to do afterwards. I felt bad that after the high school games I had an adult game that I would care nothing about due to physical fatigue. Once your out of it physically the mind goes shortly after. For me it's almost immediately; I'll have to work on that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First Adult League Game as a Player

I hate being p.c. but it is the men's league with a few women out there too. I give them credit they are trying and you have to start somewhere. Maybe if I wanted to be more p.c. I should call it what it is; the Beer League.

It's not uncommon these days to see the ladies on ice. In a lot of cities they often have a choice to play in the women's league. Hell this is Memphis, we're lucky to have a sheet of ice to play on these days so that's not an option here. Beggars can't be choosers, and that goes for any of us. I get plenty of ice but that is because I usually ref around 80 games a season. This season I am going to play 12 on top of that. I played like shit tonight so it should make for a good time either way.

I have to ref 4 later on today: 1 adult and 3 high school games. I'm sure my body will be pretty miserable afterwards but that should be it for this week.

I actually have another adult game as a player Thursday but I will be in Hot Springs, AR for the beginning of live horse racing that night. It's actually one of my favorite days over there with the exception of the last day of live racing, either way it should be a great time.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Dr K Day

As I sit here writing this I wonder how many other people actually get this day off? I am shocked after years and years of not getting any holidays off at all; that now I get every bank holiday there is.

I remember MLKJ Day in 97' was one of the best trips that my buddies and I ever took together. We had traveled all over the country during the summer always going to drum corps shows to visit friends on tour. I remember I was about 19 at the time and we all decided to go skiing / snowboarding because the KKK was having a rally in Memphis that weekend.

None of us had ever been before so we all packed the warm clothes and piled in the cars and headed for the North Carolina border. Amazingly I remember the night before it actually snowed in Memphis which is extremely unusual. Once we arrived we stocked up on all of the beer you could fit into the refridgerator and then headed for the mountain. After a hard day on the slopes it was truly unbelievable none of us had the energy to consume any beverages that night. I was extremely bruised and battered; that snowboard really beat the shit out of me the first day.

The next day there was a blizzard coming down out of the sky so we ended up getting stranded away from our condo since none of us had four wheel drive. Some locals gave us a ride up the mountain and the next morning when we were departing they ended up with a lot of beer as a gift of appreciation. Pretty much all the beer that we bought and never touched.

And the whole reason we got out of town that weekend: Memphis made national news coverage after the police tear gased the protestors. The KKK a bunch of ignorant bastards staged a protest protected by the first amendment of the Constitution of our great country. Another big bunch of dumbasses gathered to protest the KKK and gave the police the opportunity to practice their crowd control training.

Ignorance must truly be bliss.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Tivo Junkie

Man if it weren't for that damn Tivo I might get some things done on the weekends. I generally end up sitting around trying to watch some of the 36 hours of Alias, 13 hours of Jag, 15 hours of Charmed, and 12 hours of Angel that I have recorded. When I am not reffing hockey that is. Not forgetting that I also record Dog the Bounty Hunter, My Name is Earl, and my new fav Rollergirls during the week but watch them easily since they are only half an hour long. I'd probably have Buffy recorded too but it comes on the same time slot as Angel so that fucks that up.

What can I say? I worked in the casino business for the last 5 years so prime time television wasn't something I ever got to see. It just seems like I am overwhelmed with more tv to watch than I have seen in the last 10 years. What a product; I now officially watch more television than I would if I hadn't bought the Tivo.

I recently stumbled across two blogs that I now seem to read constantly.

Check them out when you have the chance. I enjoy them thoroughly.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The game we love

I recently read some posts in the current USA Hockey Magazine about the reason people love the game. I figured I could take a minute to explain why I love the game and post it in my blog, since I would never send a piece of writing like that to USA Hockey.

I love the game of hockey; so much that all of the hours and pain I give to the game should make that quite apparent. It's a living breathing animal that is actually hard to comprehend some days and other days the simplicity of it is remarkable. The game is the one daily reminder for me what hard work and fundamentals can do for anyone. I have friends from all over the world and who have played all over the world. We all have one thing in common: hockey. Some are good at it some are not so good at it. A few of us make money at it and others are just there for the camradarie that goes with being a part of it.

Amazingly in my mothers last days she was still a season ticket holder of the pro team in the area. It had become part of her identity just as it had been mine for years and years. After a while you realize all the dedication it has taken over the years is just something that can't go away overnight. Some times we can take a break from it but you can't stay away from it forever.

The game is still the best friend I have. No matter how many bad habits I have it still is able to keep me healthy and baffle the doctors every time I am there.

I recently met a female friend that I am debating becoming involved with in the complicated sense; but I often wonder if she will share in the same love that I have and that my mother also came to know?