Sunday, September 11, 2005

400 feet of boards and..

So players usually want to complain anytime the puck hits an official and doesn't go out, in, or to the intended destination. Usually the words are something like "get outa my way ref!" and sometimes more colorful than that when the complainant thinks he'll win points by swearing. Here's a little hint - yelling at me is pointless - not because of the rules (when in doubt say 601a).

I'll point this out for any readers who might be players - you have 185 ft of length (times 2) and 90ft or more of width, to round off that makes it about 360ft of boards if the rink was square, more in an Olympic size sheet. That's simple math, and while I may have gained some weight this summer I'm still only about 28" across, elbow to elbow. That means at any given time its approximately a 2 in 400 chance of hitting me with the puck given any random vector.

So lets ask the dumb question - how in the *&$@!* does that jerk of a ref manage to get in the way, I mean the nerve of that guy...

Here's the answer skippy - cause I have to be near the play, the blue line, the red line or simply having just dropped the puck in a faceoff - and just in case you are wondering, I try to avoid moving all that much when I can avoid it so that players can (notice I say CAN here) take a look and shoot around me.

So today I had the joy (really I was happy on my way TO the rink) of working lines for a AAA game, a center who knows his hockey and a linesman partner who has the experience to work a good crew for a tough game. The scheduler warned me in advance, this game was a AAA major regular season match - on an ice sheet that is undersized. We expected clutching, grabbing and lots of hits, we failed apparently to reminded the players that no bonuses are earned by tagging the men in stripes with the puck, mistake number 1.

So now I'm sore, a puck right in the back above the left kidney, followed about 3 minutes later with another on the right, apparently my new nickname is 'target'.

It had to happen though, the first one was a vision problem, my center official was in my line of sight at the time, until he stepped out the way ("better you than me" he said in the locker room, wow, thanks for that little gift) but it was caused by slow feet, his for being ahead of the play, and mine for staying too close to the blue line (it wasn't even my blue line at that moment - duhhh), The other one was a crazy bounce from the dividers between the glass, just as painful but less wounding to the pride.

All in all however it was a great match to watch (at least from 3 feet away on the ice) and I do like my new partners - though I got a lot of grief in the locker room - what penalty do you issue when your fellow official says (in jest) "get outa the way ref!"??

Back in Black (and White)

In the last few weeks I've restarted the hockey season, and I feel rusty, like a skate that got put in the bag after a long hard game and forgotten for a summer. The rest of my life was in chaos as I moved across the state, started a new day-job and generally spent way too much time and money on life and too little time on a bike or in the gym.

The first thing was to help teach at the local USAH seminar, and meet my new scheduler. As a group the local officials are quite a bunch, the usual old-timers and a smattering of fresh faces (that's me apparently which is amazing as I'm over 30) and a horde of youngsters we hope to hang on to and mold into high quality stripers. One thing I can say for sure, the local association is not friends with USAH HQ - despite proximity - so I have to earn my keep, past ratings and work for other associations are considered suspect.

The second was a lot more fun and rewarding in a different way - working the local post-pro adult league. This is a program run by an older gent who has been around for longer than most goal nets, and its open to Division I college players. Luckily at the bottom end there are just the usual guys that played college club and Midget AAA, the Jr. players are one rung up. I have to say its a ball working games for adults that 'know' hockey - especially when you have a good partner. In this case for my first game with this league I got to work with someone nearly my age who is recovering from his time as a minor-pro and Jr. program fast-track star. Unfortunately for him the body didn't think it so hot, so he's down to working a couple of games a week and letting the body heal.

Finally today I got a 'real' USAH assignment to work. More later after the game.