Tales of a CIHL referee

BC Hockey’s referee in chief, said preliminary numbers show there are roughly 150-170 referees in the North, a drop from 2011-2013

They’re out there skating on the ice for as long as hockey players are; they must stand their ground and occasionally get booed for controversial calls on the ice; and they must get in the thick of things during line brawls between teams.

CIHL referees deal with  many things on and off the ice.

But for CIHL referee Michael Mehr, who has been officiating for the past 12 years, reffing is more than just making those controversial calls.

“I love being part of the game,” said Mehr. “I love to have a role in it, it’s the best seat in the house to watch a game from.”

Mehr started reffing when he was a teenager after a short stint as a player.

“It teaches you so many important life skills. Officiating is fantastic in teaching you how to make quick decisions, you get conflict management, you get exercise,” he said. “I also think it allows you to build a fair amount of self-confidence that you can handle those situations.”

He temporarily stepped away from officiating to pursue his studies at university, but then returned to the ice when the Smithers Steelheads were formed roughly 12 years ago.

Though travel times between towns has decreased significantly, the action on the ice is very much the same.

“There’s a lot of emotion in the game of hockey and I think it’s one of the main reasons that makes hockey fantastic,” said Mehr, a level three official with BC Hockey.

“Particularly in the CIHL, the guys care about the game and it reflects in how they interact with you on the ice. But I’m convinced it’s the emotion of the moment when you have these disagreements with players that are fairly emphatic.

“It’s emotion of the moment and I discount it as that. At the end of the game, that player and I still have respect for each other.”

But over the years, Mehr has seen a decrease in the number of young officials involved with the league.

“We’re not seeing a lot of continuing good young officials into a good supply of adult officials. We’re good at the minor hockey level, but we could use more young adults that are still in town and we could certainly use more adult referees,” he said.

Sean Raphael, BC Hockey’s referee in chief, said preliminary numbers show there are roughly 150-170 referees in the North, a drop from the 2011-2013 levels when they had just over 200.

“This year in particular, we’ve seen an increase in officials in the south Okanagan and north and south Vancouver Island, yet we’ve seen declines in the north central and northwest,” he said.

“In the North particularly it’s hard to say, in general, we’ve seen various reasons, with some of our young officials, the ones that are progressing from the program from the 16-20-year-old range . . . lots of things whether it be other career paths, schooling, possible re-location for either of those two things. We’ll see a lot of turnover and attrition at those levels due to those things.”

Glyn Doyle, a young official who recently received his level two certification from BC Hockey, officiated his first CIHL game two weeks go.

“It’s more intense than most of the games I’ve ever done. It’s a higher pace and the guys like to talk to you a little bit. I didn’t get too much hassle from the coaches or the players,” said Doyle, who has been reffing with the minor league for the past five years.

“I’d love to continue reffing higher-level hockey.”

According to Raphael, the organization is stepping up efforts to find out why there is a disparity in reffing numbers in certain regions.

One of those ways is through the minor supervision program, where they will send a supervisor to roughly 100 minor hockey associations across the province to provide further education to officials and staff.

As for Mehr, he has taken a small step back from officiating, but his desire to stay in the game outweighs everything.

“I really respect what the guys in the CIHL level bring and I try and return that. I don’t have any agenda to be on the ice other than to be in the game . . . it’s really great hockey,” he said.

There are roughly 4,300 certified officials in the province this year. For more information, visit www.bchockey.net.

 

 

Just Posted

100 years since the surrender of Simon Gunanoot

The famed Gitsxan hunter was a fugitive for 13 years

Smithers celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

The day included dancing, singing, a moose call contest and a soapberry ice cream tutorial.

UNBC researcher leads study on cannabis-impaired driving

Dr. Russ Callaghan hypothesizes increased motor vehicle collision injuries among young people

Bestselling Indigenous author enlightens Smithers audience on the Indian Act

Bob Joseph is the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act

Scheduled roadwork for June 20 – July 17

Some lane closures expected as Town proceeds with maintenance

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. judge defies lawyers and adds six months to man’s sex assault sentence

‘I find the joint submission is contrary to the public interest and I’m rejecting it’

Tiny Yorkshire terrier survives days on remote B.C. island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Greater Victoria for days

Man presumed dead after boat capsizes in Columbia River

Search and rescue efforts recovered a life jacket

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Most Read