Given last weekend’s drama filled antics between the Canterbury Red Devils and Southern Stampede which led to a player suspension, I assumed the quality of referring for the two game series between the West Auckland Admirals and the Red Devils would be tight to maintain order and keep control. With the beauty of technology, I was able to catch the full stream of the game without being have asleep at two in the morning. (I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong but it’s so awesome to have the NZIHL at my fingertips during the day.)
However, my thoughts definitely got the wrong side of things. Maybe it’s just because I’m seasoned to watching professional hockey leagues (but even they have their own officials that are lacking at times), but what I saw were many blown calls that were turned around and made up after noticing the call they missed before. Easily a lack of consistency. Nobody got the better end of the stick either; the officiating was poor for both teams.
Throwing out game misconducts like they were going out of style in an attempt to control the game. That will only make things more hyped up. Well you say, how does one control the game then? By making smart judgement calls when they’re warranted.
I realize that these officials have to be certified in order to boss the game. My question is, are they having their memory refreshed during the offseason with continuing yearly courses? I understand New Zealand is fairly new to having a national league but this would do wonders for the growth of the sport. Referring clinics in the off season could even attract new people to the sport. You could import a couple of seasoned referees to help out and showcase their resumes.
Before you start to send me hate mail, this isn’t a knock on the refs. It’s more of an eye opening catch to make sure the league keeps its standards high to attract the best quality players. I understand and can not be more grateful for the sacrifice they make to pick up officiating and give up their spare time. I’ve also only watched the past two games in Christchurch, so I haven’t a clue if it’s like this in the rest of the country.
I’ve seen some leagues go down and fold due to poor officiating. I don’t want this to happen to the NZIHL.