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Encyclopedia > Official (ice hockey)
American Hockey League referee Dean Morton
American Hockey League referee Dean Morton

In ice hockey, an official is a person who has some responsibility in enforcing the rules or maintaining the order of the game. There are two categories of officials, on-ice officials, who are the referees and linesmen that enforce the rules during game play, and off-ice officials, who have an administrative role rather than an enforcement role. American Hockey League referee Dean Morton, 2004, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... American Hockey League referee Dean Morton, 2004, by Rick Dikeman File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The American Hockey League (AHL) is regarded as the top professional hockey league in North America outside the National Hockey League (NHL). ... Ice hockey, known simply as hockey in areas where it is more common than field hockey, is a team sport played on ice. ...


On-ice officials

A linesman about to drop the puck during a faceoff.

As the name implies, on-ice officials do their job on the hockey rink. They are traditionally clad in a black hockey helmet, black trousers, and a black-and-white striped shirt. Thus, on-ice officials are often called zebras. They wear standard hockey skates and carry a fingerwhistle, which they use to stop play. They communicate with players, coaches, off-ice officials, and spectators both verbally and via hand signals. For many years (and currently in most minor and amateur leagues), officials had their last names on the back of their jerseys for identification, normally in a single row across the shoulders (or, in the case of Andy Van Hellemond, two rows with the top being the "Van"). Starting in 1996, however, NHL officials wear numbers on their shirts. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1692x1250, 377 KB) Dion Knelsen of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks faces off against Cadet 2nd Class Josh Print of the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons at the Carlson Center in downtown Fairbanks on Oct. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1692x1250, 377 KB) Dion Knelsen of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks faces off against Cadet 2nd Class Josh Print of the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons at the Carlson Center in downtown Fairbanks on Oct. ... A hockey rink is an ice rink specifically designed for the game of ice hockey. ... A helmet in ice hockey is worn by a player to protect the head from potential injury. ... Species Equus zebra Equus hartmannae Equus quagga Equus grevyi The Zebra is a part of the horse family, Equidae, native to central and southern Africa. ... Modern recreational skates Ice skates are boots with blades attached to the bottom, used to propel ones self across ice surfaces. ... A whistle is a one-note woodwind instrument which produces sound from a stream of forced air. ... Andy Van Hellemond (born February 16, 1948, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) is a former referee in the National Hockey League and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1999. ...


A referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game. He can be identified by his red or orange armbands. His judgment of goals is final. He is the only official with the authority to assess penalties for violations of the rules. The puck dents the top of the net for a goal as the goaltender fails to block the shot A goal in ice hockey provides a team with one point. ... A penalty in ice hockey is a punishment for inappropriate behaviour. ...


Linesmen are primarily responsible for watching for violations involving the red line and the blue line. Such infractions include icing and offsides infractions. Linesmen also conduct faceoffs. They are also expected to break-up fisticuffs and other altercations that occur during the game. Some leagues allow linesmen to call penalties (such as too many men), while others only allow them to report the infraction to the referee. A hockey rink is an ice rink specifically designed for the game of ice hockey. ... A hockey rink is an ice rink specifically designed for the game of ice hockey. ... Example A is not icing; Example B is icing. ... In ice hockey, play is said to be offside if a player on the attacking team enters the attacking zone before the puck. ... A typical faceoff at centre ice A faceoff is the method used to begin play in ice hockey. ...

Assistant referees

In some leagues, such as the NCAA, the linesmen are given the title of assistant referee. When given this title, they are given more responsibility to call penalties that the referee may not see. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA, often said NC-Double-A) is a voluntary association of about 1200 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletics programs of many colleges and universities in the United States. ...

If the assistant referee sees an infraction he may call it only after informing the Referee of his intent most often called penalty is too many men on the ice call as the Assistant Referees are also responsible for watching the change of players on the fly

On-ice officiating systems

  • The three-official system uses one referee and two linesman. This is the most common officiating system.
  • The four-official system adds a second referee for a total of two referees and two linesman. This system is used in the NHL and other high-levels.
  • In the two-official system, each official acts as both referee and linesman — each has the responsibility to call both penalties and blue and red line violations. In this system, neither official wears red or orange armbands. This is used at lower levels of youth hockey and in most adult recreational leagues.
  • In the 2-1 system, there are two referees and one linesman. There are a variety of ways to divide the responsibilities between the referees and linesman. Typically, the back referee is responsible to make the initial call at the blue line when the puck first enters the zone, and after that the linesman takes over.
  • The 1-1 system (sometimes called Texas two-man) uses one referee and one linesman. Often, this is an informal system used when one of the officials does not show up for a game scheduled to use the three-official system. The referee in this system must also make the occasional line call.

NHL redirects here. ...

Off-ice officials

Off-ice officials, with the exception of the video goal judge in professional leagues, do not have any direct impact on the outcome of the game. They serve primarily administrative and advisory roles.

Goal judge

The goal judge determines whether a player has scored a goal by watching to see if the puck has crossed the goal line completely. One goal judge is positioned outside the rink directly behind each goal net. For arenas so equipped, the goal judge turns on a red light behind the goal to alert everyone that a goal has just been scored. The Goal Judge does not sound the horn you hear when a goal is scored; that is set off by the sound techs in the arena. The goal judge acts only in an advisory role; the referee has the sole authority to award goals and can override the opinion of the goal judge.

Video goal judge

The video goal judge reviews replays of disputed goals. As the referee does not have access to television monitors, the video goal judge's decision in disputed goals is taken as final. In the NHL, goals may only be reviewed in the following situations: puck crossing the goal line completely and before time expired, puck in the net prior to goal frame being dislodged, puck being directed into the net by hand or foot, puck deflected into the net off an official, and puck deflected into the goal by the high stick by an attacking player. The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... NHL redirects here. ...

Official scorer

The official scorer keeps the official record of the game. He is responsible for obtaining a list of eligible players from both teams prior to the start of the game. He awards points for goals and assists, and his decision in this regard is final. The official scorer typically sits in an elevated position away from the edge of the rink. Point in ice hockey has two meanings: When it is given to individual hockey players, it refers to either a goal or assist a player earns during a game. ... The puck dents the top of the net for a goal as the goaltender fails to block the shot A goal in ice hockey provides a team with one point. ... In ice hockey, an assist is attributed to up to the two previous players of the scoring team who touched or deflected the puck towards the scoring teammate, meaning that they were assisting in the goal. ...

Penalty timekeeper

The penalty timekeeper records the penalties imposed by the referee. He is responsible for ensuring that the correct penalty times are posted on the score clock. Look up timekeeper in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Game timekeeper

The game timekeeper is responsible for stopping and starting the game clock. Look up timekeeper in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A typical chess clock. ...


The statistician records all required data concerning individual and team performances.

Officials value in ice hockey culture

Like other "playing" sports, hockey game-play is based on referee desisions, therefore inevitable misunderstandings could seriously influence the whole process. And even if the mistake was commited purposely, there is no way that game results could be declared void because of it (the most probable outcome would be suspension or monetary penalty for violating referee). Therefore, referees influence in modern hockey culture is obvious.

Unfortunately, most fans and players tend to blame referees for their team failures instead of looking for more relevant explanations. Most recent example of such behavior occured during IIHF 2006 World Championship Latvia - Canada game (see official press release). U.S. official, Rick Looker, enforced the rules to rulebook standards, leading Latvia to 16 minor penalty calls and 9 powerplay goals against. However, fans didn't think about anything else except prejudice in favor of North-American teams and caused the game to stop twice because of various objects (including a boot) being thrown on ice. The 2006 Mens Ice Hockey Championships was held in May, 2006 in Riga, Latvia. ...

So, the current tendency towards officials is to blame them for anything wrong happenning on ice. Hovewer, even this kind of interaction is one of the points of interest in modern hockey culture.


Russian fans, unlike their world counterparts, don't call officials "zebras". An original nickname, matras (lang-ru|матра́c), is used instead. Matras stands for mattress, which were manufactured in characteristic lengthwise stripes design during Soviet time. The negative attitude against referee between Russian fans is very strong, in fact even two opposite fan forces who normally would fight against each other (in absence of police or security guards) support their counterparts whenever a questionable decision was made by an official, no matter which side was affected.

Soviet hockey history with Moscow teams domination started several myths, one of which is referees being corrupt (there are still rumours of Soviet leaders, like Stalin or Brezhnev, using phone calls to determine which team would win the game). While this fact is quite questionable, several standard practices serve only to help spreading rumours. For example, League regulations state that referee's salary is paid by game hosting team. Another fact, that the largest punishment for referee so far was a 3-month suspension with a questionable fine. Therefore, corruption is the main theme of Russian fans' perfomance. Most interesting cases include fan taking up 10 roubles note(note with lowest monetary value, equal to approx. 40 U.S. cents) from his vallet and addressing the referee with "A penalty, please" shout. When penalty is finally called (which takes no more than 5 minutes of normal gameplay), the vallet is thrown on ice, this time with "Thank you!" comment. Iosif (usually anglicized as Joseph) Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин), original name Ioseb Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვი&#4314... Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  listen? ( Russian: Леони́д Ильи́ч Бре́жнев) ( December 19, 1906 – November 10, 1982) was effective ruler of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, though at first in partnership with...

Returning to officials addressing, there are several popular chants to be heard on stands.

  • Mat-ras – tri-dva-ras! (lit. "Mattress - three-two-one!") - "tri-dva-ras" is similar phonetically to pidorás, a derogatory term for passive homosexuals. Since swearing in public places is a civil offence in Russia, a workaround was found to avoid being captured by police.
  • Sud'-ya – ka-zyol! (lit. "Referee(judge) is a goat!") - kazyol is a popular Russian offensive word for 'bad' people name-calling.
  • Sud'-ya – El-ton John! (lit. "Referee(judge) is Elton John!") - once again, a subtle hint on referee sexual preferences.
  • Po-lo-sa-tiy – pro-vo-ca-tor, hey-hey! (lit. "Striped is an instigator, hey-hey!") - implies that ref is leading a game into inevitable fight.

These pearls of Russian fan culture are characteristic not just for hooligans. Even serious businessmen in VIP lounges could be seen chanting some of these in extreme moments. Good example is Metallurg Magnitogorsk vs. Dynamo Moscow game, which was broadcasted live by federal sports channel, RTR Sport. During overtime period, Dynamo player managed to get a breakaway and shot the puck right into goalkeeper's face. The latter fell, and a second shot of former resulted to goal. The problem is that IIHF rules state that game stould be stopped immediately as goalkeeper gets hit with the puck in his face, so Metallurg officials appealed to the referee. After video review, the appeal was denied, resulting in huge "Matras - tri-dva-ras!" chanting by each fan. Commentators even stopped their play-by-play, with a comment - "It seems, they're quite right". Cameras then showed VIP lounge with people chanting in similar manner. Tim ONeill - Coach of the year Metallurg Magnitogorsk (ru: Металлург Магнитогорск) is a professional Russian ice hockey team. ... Categories: Football (soccer) stubs | Ice hockey stubs | Russian football clubs ... Overtime, in ice hockey, is a method of determining the winner and loser of ice hockey matches should a game be tied after regulation. ...

Unfortunately, this examples show that ice hockey officials in Russia are treated quite bad by fans. New insults are being invented, like referees being called penguins. Which is most unfortunate, the league doesn't do anything to prevent this. Even worse, new league regulations (like proposal to remove referee's name from their jersey in favor of ads) just cause more ideas for fans to appear for exploiting.

List of current NHL on-ice officials


  • Stephane Auger #15
  • Chris Ciamaga #41
  • Paul Devorski #10
  • Gord Dwyer #39
  • Kerry Fraser #2
  • Eric Furlatt #27
  • Mike Hasenfratz #30
  • Dave Jackson #8
  • Marc Joannette #25
  • Greg Kimmerly #18
  • Don Koharski #12
  • Tom Kowal #32
  • Steve Kozari #40
  • Dennis LaRue #14
  • Chris Lee #28
  • Frederick L'Ecuyer #48
  • Mike Leggo #3
  • Dan Marouelli #6
  • Rob Martell #26
  • Wes McCauley #4
  • Bill McCreary #7
  • Michael McGeough #19
  • Brad Meier #34
  • Dean Morton #36
  • Dan O'Halloran #13
  • Dan O'Rourke #42
  • Tim Peel #20
  • Brian Pochmara #43
  • Kevin Pollock #33
  • Chris Rooney #5
  • Rob Shick #16
  • Craig Spada #22
  • Francois St. Laurent #38
  • Justin St. Pierre #45
  • Kelly Sutherland #11
  • Don Van Massenhoven #21
  • Ian Walsh #29
  • Dean Warren #35
  • Brad Watson #23

Kerry Fraser (born May 30, 1952, in Sarnia, Ontario) has been a National Hockey League referee since September 1, 1973. ... Don Koharski (born December 2, 1955, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada) is a professional ice hockey referee. ... William Bill McCreary (born November 17, 1955, in Guelph, Ontario) is a referee in the National Hockey League. ...


  • Derek Amell #75
  • Steve Barton #59
  • David Brisebois #96
  • Lonnie Cameron #74
  • Pierre Champoux #67
  • Michel Cormier #76
  • Mike Cvik #88
  • Pat Dapuzzo #60
  • Greg Devorski #54
  • Scott Driscoll #68
  • Ryan Galloway #82
  • Don Henderson #91
  • Shane Heyer #55
  • Brad Kovachik #71
  • Brad Lazarowich #86
  • Brian Mach #78
  • Andy McElman #90
  • Steve Miller #89
  • Jean Morin #97
  • Brian Murphy #93
  • Jonny Murray #95
  • Derek Nansen #70
  • Thor Nelson #80
  • Tim Nowak #77
  • Mark Pare #79
  • Pierre Racicot #65
  • Vaughan Rody #73
  • Dan Schachte #47
  • Lyle Seitz #61
  • Tony Sericolo #84
  • Jay Sharrers #57
  • Mark Shewchyk #92
  • Mark Wheler #56

Recently deceased NHL officials

Stephane Provost (Born: c. ... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Notable retired NHL officials

Bill The Big Whistle Chadwick (born October 10, 1915 in New York City) is a former referee for the National Hockey League whose career spanned the greater part of the 1940s and 1950s. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... Bruce Hood was born in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. ... Ray Scapinello (born November 5, 1946 in Guelph, Ontario) was the National Hockey Leagues most recognizable linesmen when he retired in June 2004 after 33 seasons. ... J. Cooper Smeaton (Born July 22, 1890 in Carleton Place, Ontario-Died October 3, 1978) was a professional ice hockey referee and head coach. ... Paul Stewart (born March 24, 1952 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts) was a professional ice hockey player and National Hockey League (NHL) referee. ... This person is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. ... Stephen Walkom (b. ... Andy Van Hellemond (born February 16, 1948, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) is a former referee in the National Hockey League and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1999. ...

See also

Director of Officiating (NHL) The Director of Officiating for the National Hockey League (NHL) heads the leagues officiating department and reports directly to Colin Campbell, the senior vice president. ...

External links

  • Hockey Canada Officiating Program
  • USA Hockey Officiating Program
  • Ice Hockey Australia Officiating Program
  • Norwegian Ice Hockey Officials Club
  • Swiss Hockey Officials
  • Belgian Referee Commission
  • Danish Ice Hockey Officials Club
  • French Referee Commission
  • German Hockey Officiating
  • Off-Ice Officials at Michigan State University

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