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Thread: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

  1. #21
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?


  2. #22
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    That's a big increase, but it's still the first month of the season, when refs are more free with the whistle. It'll be interesting to see how this season compares with those prior seasons once we get to April.
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdiff77 View Post
    Hockey wasn't meant to be played at 5-on-4, or 4-on-4, or (heaven forbid) 5-on-3. This phenomenon of 20+ penalties in numerous games is an over-correction by the officials that must be scaled back when conference play begins in earnest.

    I'm especially nervous as a Brown fan - last year, we were the least penalized team in the country, but we had a bottom-five penalty kill. If they start putting us on penalty kills more often for marginal infractions, we'll get smoked every game (instead of only losing by one or two ).
    4 on 4? At one point on friday ASU and Northeastern were playing 3 on 3! They called five minors in a 3:10 span.

    The problem is that the more you put on the refs to call the more they're going to get wrong. I've seen at least 3 calls in each game I've attended this season that were in no way penalties. Before it would just be that they missed stuff (they still do), but now they're seeing more phantom calls because they're more whistle happy. Between that and the endless reviews of goals it's making the game borderline unwatchable. If this doesn't change I'll be reconsidering how many games I attend.

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinsFan09 View Post
    Gonna be in for a rude awakening when you get to the NHL and barely any penalties are called.
    True enough. And that's something that's going to play right into the hands of Major Junior teams in the recruiting wars.

    As for the comments that we've seen this before and eventually everything settles down: What we're seeing this year looks and feels different not only in terms of the ludicrous numbers of penalties being called but also because of obvious disparity in the way the standard is being interpreted in the east as compared to the west. Games played by skilled D1 players typically should draw less than 10 penalties per game, unless a "Gong Show" breaks out--unlikely in college hockey. But ECAC and Hockey East are regularly racking up 20+ penalties per game, which IMO would be laughable were it not for the frustration being experienced by the players, coaches, and paying customers.

    I'm pretty sure the coaches and ADs are having their say behind the scenes so we'll have to wait and see how this ultimately plays out.
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by manurespreader View Post
    I've seen quite a number of players going to the box saying, what did I do?
    Quite honestly I don't remember the last time I saw a hockey player going to the box that DIDN'T question why they were being penalized or not telling the ref what they were full of... As a hockey player, I can tell you the more rare occurrence would be a hockey player going to the box saying "You called that one right ref" or "Yeah, that was me. I got him good didn't I."

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    True enough. And that's something that's going to play right into the hands of Major Junior teams in the recruiting wars.
    How? Seems to me that talented players would want to play where they can display their talent. No?

    Not only 5 on 5 but if I'm a lights out offensive player and you're telling me I'm going to be on the PP 8 times a night, freaking sign me up!


    Quote Originally Posted by Split-N View Post
    Games played by skilled D1 players typically should draw less than 10 penalties per game...
    This has absolutely nothing to do with skill. Players are coached to play to the standard that the referees let them play. Something like, yes, hooking is illegal. But if the ref isn't calling hooking, we're certainly not going to put ourselves at a disadvantage by refraining from it while the other team does it.

    That has nothing to do with talent. It happens in every league at every level of hockey. Coaching, gamesmanship, being competitive, call it what you will but don't confuse it with talent.

    Now, after years of calling the games at one standard, they've changed. The players will figure it out. And the game will be better because of it.
    Last edited by E.J. Smith; 10-25-2016 at 02:23 PM.

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Earlier in the thread a poster made a comment that it “seems like most of the calls being made aren’t about player safety at all” (thoughts on how to improve that in the next post -- although E.J. Smith addressed many of them in his 7:30am post today ). That’s because the area being addressed isn’t about player safety but rather allowing players to move freely on the rink without being illegally impeded. Obviously, some fans (and at least a few coaches) are questioning whether there was a significant enough issue to require the heightened focus on these types of potential infractions. I would argue that the significant increase in restraining fouls actually being called indicates that things had, in fact, “slipped” a little in this area. The reality is that officials, guided by feedback from supervisors and coaches had, over the last 5-10 years, allowed the “old school” application of these restraining fouls – hooking, holding, interference, and slashing to the arms and hands to creep back in. Meaning, they were calling it based on the “spirit of the rule” versus the black and white definition of it. If an action didn’t create or remove an obvious advantage -- cause a clear change of possession, prevent a desired pass from being made or, take away a definite scoring opportunity -- it wasn’t called. Especially if a team was already short a player or, it was late in a game and the teams were within a goal or two of each other.

    The difference is that the new emphasis is requiring officials to also call penalties for actions that may only partially impede the player in question. And, more importantly, to call them regardless of current on ice strength or time of the game or score. This is a pretty significant change, both for the officials and the players. Are actions being called that aren’t penalties? Absolutely. But, the NCAA and, more importantly the conferences, have instructed the officials to “make the calls”. For the average official, the result, at least initially, will be a tendency to overcall these actions to ensure they’re meeting the expectations of their supervisors. That doesn’t mean each official isn’t trying to get it as right as possible. I’m confident, there’s not an official out there that isn’t literally trying to be as “perfect” as possible every game. And, with the help of post-game video review, they’ll improve as the season progresses.

    Considering its speed and the extremely unique skill required to officiate it – the ability to skate effectively – makes this sport THE most difficult to officiate (nothing is even close). So, it’s often difficult enough to get the “obvious” penalties correct. Unfortunately, the challenge for officials in enforcing this directive is that these types of calls are the most difficult to make. In that, they are extremely subjective based on the sight line of the official at the instant the “action” occurs. Especially if an individual referee is a little shorter and is having to look around or through players at a given instant to see if a slight hold or hook caused a player to mishandle or lose control of a puck or, it was just that player’s lack of stickhandling skill or maybe a bump in the ice that caused it.

    What makes this initiative even more challenging to sell to the coaches, players, or the average fan is that, even the slightly elevated sight line of standing on a bench (in the case of a coach) can create a dramatic difference in how the potential penalty or action is judged in that moment. Not to mention the fact that the coach (or player at ice level) might have a completely different sight line angle (opposite side of the rink) which can also alter one’s judgement as to whether an action warrants a call or not (why the back referee sometimes calls something the deep referee doesn’t even though the deep referee is much closer). Now, consider the change in sight line for the average fan (between 10 and 50 feet above the ice) and it’s no wonder they often can’t believe a call was or wasn’t made. Any official will tell you that the absolute best place to officiate a game is from 20 rows up!  Unfortunately, they don’t have that luxury. If you could put a camera at every corner at ice level, one up high at the red line on each side of the rink, and a Go Pro on each referee, you would be amazed at how different the exact same action looked from the various angles. On many, you would swear it wasn’t even the same play. That’s why this job is all about achieving the best sight line possible. Which, requires very strong skating ability. The officials that tend to struggle with restraining fouls tend to be those that are weaker skaters or, who simply don’t work hard to achieve the best sight line.

    To be fair, some of the complaints expressed about individual/specific situations are valid. Whether it’s the stick lift that, especially on replay, clearly didn’t get hands but, is called a hook. Or, the heavy but legal body check called as a “rough”. Or, when a player simply puts his hand on a player’s waist but doesn’t actually pull on or grab him yet still gets called for holding. There’s also more embellishment creeping in and that will be the next thing officials are directed to be diligent for. The reality is that, at ice level, this game is now so incredibly fast and these things happen in literally splits of a second. The official only gets one shot at it. At least as it relates to restraining fouls. And, if they happen to glance at something else for even a fraction of a second, it’s very easy to miss some of these partial restraining fouls. Or, worse yet, think you saw something that really wasn’t there. Based on that, fans need to come to accept the reality that every official at some point in almost every game is going to make at least one or two mistakes (and maybe even more). And usually at a point where you as a fan feel it’s most detrimental to your team.

    As for the differences in average numbers of calls between the West and East; there has always been a slight “cultural” difference between eastern and western officiating.  To be fair, in general that difference exists at the behest of most of the coaches. Still, considering the information that every conference, coach, and official has been presented with, it is a little odd that there has been that much of a difference to this point. My guess is that will even out over time. Remember also that, considering how many college players now move on to the NHL, they are very supportive of this effort as this is the way their games are called in respect to restraining fouls – at least during the regular season.

    Although it seems to have diminished over the last few years, it’s interesting to see how often people on these boards criticize the officials. Especially considering most have never even officiated a Squirt game. Remember, these are part time officials operating in an environment where their decisions can have significant consequences for some people’s full-time livelihood’s. There is far more pressure on a Div. I college hockey referee during the regular season than any NHL official in their regular season. Why? In college hockey, due to the way the NCAA tournament field is selected, every game truly matters! So, every mistake or perceived mistake is magnified tremendously. In the NHL, there’s 82 games and the teams – especially the coaches – don’t have more than a day or maybe two to worry about the last game because there’s another game coming up. Whereas, in college hockey, they have 5 days to analyze every little play and send it in to the league. Plus, NHL officials are contracted employees with a very strong union to back them up. College hockey officials are part-time, independent contractors. Meaning, although most have an allegiance to a particular league, if they make even just one bad “mistake” – as perceived by a coach or commissioner or supervisor -- they might simply never work again with no opportunity to contest it.

    To Be Continued...

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Remember, the average NHL crew of full-time officials makes about 7-8 judgment mistakes a game (offsides, icings, penalties, and goals) and, they each make between $120,000 and $300,000 a year. The average Div. I referee makes about $400 per game and the linesman about $200. Div. III is even less at $170 and $100 respectively with little or no travel reimbursement. Yes, most travel expenses are covered in Div. I but, consider the challenges college hockey officials face compared to any other sport; 7 to 10 times the annual cost in equipment than any other sport’s officials, a far, far greater risk of physical injury, the fact that it’s far and away the most physically demanding thus requiring many more hours of physical training than any other sport—especially for the older ones trying to stay in it. And finally, the previously mentioned unique skill required to actually do it (skating).

    I think it’s safe to say that hockey officials should be the highest paid of all the college (or even high school) sports. Yet, officials working even mid-major conference Div. I basketball games make $1,000+ per game! And, due to the obviously greater number of teams and, therefore, games needing to be covered, they work upwards of 60+ games a season. On the other hand, the average college hockey official works about 20 games a season. Yes, I realize the very different economic models at work regarding basketball versus hockey (or even worse, football). Still, the average Div. I hockey coach’s salary has risen more than 75%-100% over the last decade (maybe more) while officials pay has only risen about 10% over that same time frame! Considering that the cost of their equipment alone has risen over 50% in the last decade (not to mention how much registration fees have increased) one could argue that the difference in percentage of increase doesn’t seem very fair. Still, it’s interesting that of all the people it takes to put on a college hockey game, no one gets complained about more from a quality standpoint and on as consistent of a basis than do the officials. And yet, the caretakers of the game seem willing to increase financial commitment to almost every other area but the one that, at least from the outside, seems to need the greatest improvement.

    My point is, in our society we get what we pay for. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of excellent and committed college hockey officials who could succeed in the NHL if given the chance. But, they are the top 5 percent involved. They tend to be those that have spent between 3 to 10 years at the Tier I or II Junior level and/or minor-pro level before moving to college hockey. Most still work at the Junior and Minor-Professional levels when not doing college. The ability of the majority of the rest varies depending on years of experience at a given level (or lack thereof), personal commitment to improvement and, the quality of the supervision they receive. The bottom line is, if you want these individuals to make an even greater commitment to improvement and performance – read, getting to cities/games earlier to improve pre-game prep, watching video, working out, or studying rules and case books more than they already do -- then it’s time for college hockey to make the requisite financial investment for the improvement it says it wants. A good start would be $500 for the referees and $250-$300 for the linesmen in Div. I. For Div. III, $250-$300 for referees and $150-$175, depending on how much travel subsidy is provided. Yes, many college athletic budgets are tight. Still, if they can find the money to increase coach’s salaries 75%-100% over ten years, how is it we can’t increase officials pay by 25% over that same time frame?
    Sorry to get a little off track but all of the things I mentioned are truly interconnected when trying to analyze the quality of college hockey officiating as it relates to how the new standard is called and, how we can continue to improve the overall officiating program for the long term. Regardless, the ongoing effort to tighten the standard for restraining fouls is here to stay. And, although the officials certainly can improve in the quality of the calls they make (and most will), the majority of the burden moving forward will be on the players and coaches to adjust the way they play the game in respect to this specific area.

  9. #29
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    I wouldn't be surprised if each league mandates a rate for officials' payment. Obviously the "host" of the game (usually the home team, the league in league playoffs, NCAA during the national tournament, etc.) is responsible for paying the officials, they will typically use event admission to cover this cost, and therefore must generate the revenue necessary to do as such. If you increase the payment for officials, you will see the admission prices rise to compensate. With some administrations already subsidizing the exorbitant costs of ice hockey because they can't do it with admissions and concessions alone, this may result in even more issues. I'm not saying the officials are chopped liver, but there is a balance that does need to be met.
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by net presence View Post
    I think it’s safe to say that hockey officials should be the highest paid of all the college (or even high school) sports. Yet, officials working even mid-major conference Div. I basketball games make $1,000+ per game!
    Comparing pay rates for officials in various sports are irrelevant to what's happening right now, and serve only to sidetrack the discussion. Various sports and their leagues are going to pay their officials whatever their agreed amount is, usually based upon a union agreement. If college hockey had greater revenues, college hockey officials could demand greater payment. College basketball is swimming in cash, so college basketball refs earn a lot more money. The necessary physical skills required to do the job have nothing to do with how much an official should earn.
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by St. Clown View Post
    Comparing pay rates for officials in various sports are irrelevant to what's happening right now, and serve only to sidetrack the discussion. Various sports and their leagues are going to pay their officials whatever their agreed amount is, usually based upon a union agreement. If college hockey had greater revenues, college hockey officials could demand greater payment. College basketball is swimming in cash, so college basketball refs earn a lot more money. The necessary physical skills required to do the job have nothing to do with how much an official should earn.
    First, I agree that it’s difficult to compare official’s fees between sports, especially given the very different economics of each involved. And, I also acknowledge that challenge directly a couple of sentences down from where you chose to finish quoting me. However, I (and assume most others) will disagree strongly with your assertion that the pay an individual receives for a specific position shouldn’t be or isn’t tied to the physical demands that position requires or, risk of injury it may present. Especially when compared to similar career fields where the demands and risk are measurably lower. For instance, people who work on the pipelines in northern Alaska make more than those that work basically the same job in more temperate climates. Why? Greater physical demand and risk of injury due to conditions of course. Based on what I’ve laid out as the reasons why hockey officials clearly deserve better pay, wouldn’t they deserve it if the economics were equal?

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Quote Originally Posted by net presence View Post
    First, I agree that it’s difficult to compare official’s fees between sports, especially given the very different economics of each involved. And, I also acknowledge that challenge directly a couple of sentences down from where you chose to finish quoting me. However, I (and assume most others) will disagree strongly with your assertion that the pay an individual receives for a specific position shouldn’t be or isn’t tied to the physical demands that position requires or, risk of injury it may present. Especially when compared to similar career fields where the demands and risk are measurably lower. For instance, people who work on the pipelines in northern Alaska make more than those that work basically the same job in more temperate climates. Why? Greater physical demand and risk of injury due to conditions of course. Based on what I’ve laid out as the reasons why hockey officials clearly deserve better pay, wouldn’t they deserve it if the economics were equal?
    I stopped my quote of you where I did because that's where I stopped reading. It was easy to see that your argument had gone off the rails into La-La-Land of magical suppositions that will always turn favorable to the argument you want to make. It's the old saying, "if ifs and buts were candies and nuts..."

    The economics of the real world do apply, and they're not forgiving to hockey. Besides, all else being equal, refs would be paid more based upon how well they performed their jobs, not which sport or league they officiate and the amount of revenue they generate.

    Also, run a COLA comparison between Alaska and other areas, and you're likely to see a near wash in pay discrepancies.
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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    I think one of the big issues is that fact that not all of the leagues are calling it the same either. If they are going to do this then the officials should all be directly governed by the NCAA and just be NCAA officials.

    Take one of the one of the biggest teams that has been negatively affected by the crackdown. Bowling Green. The Falcons are winless after being the preseason WCHA pick. The main reason has been the amount of time they have spent in the box and on the PK. Their PK has been poor, no doubt. A big issue on this PK has been poor goaltending, your goalie has to be your best penalty killer, but BG's goalie issues are for another discussion......

    Getting back to my main point BG has played in games with Refs from the WCHA, B1G and NCHC.

    WCHA refs have called an average of 32 penalty minutes per game
    NCHC refs 49
    B1G refs 43

    I've watched all the games. The standards of what was and was not a penalty varied wildly from night to night and league to league. As the poster above stated, the players have no idea what is and is not a penalty on a nightly basis as the enforcement is so different between the leagues. Can't tell you how many times I've seen things not called a penalty in the 1st period but then it is in the 3rd period.

    5 on 3's, 4 on 3's, 3 on 3's......its just crazy.

    If this is what college hockey is going to look like going forward then I guess I may just have to take some time off from watching it because IMHO this sucks and they are making the games unwatchable.

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    Seeing what play looks like having adjusted for this I think there some questionable marginal calls I think the game looks better with it taken into account. It lets the skill players do their thing.

    I was shocked at first and I'm usually in favor of more whistles but seeing how they have to play in adjustment to think I think it's a good thing

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    Re: Whistlemania! -- Are we fixing something that isn't broken?

    ok so I'm a forward standing still on the face-off and holding my stick still on the ice. My opposite number as the puck is dropped rushes out and into where my stick is, I have the choice of dropping my stick or holding it tight. If I hold it tight, am I impeding him and thus going to the box?.
    I never moved one iota.
    Second question, lets say it's a similar situation except I am moving parallel to him, only this time he grabs my stick as he skates past. Am i impeding him now, because this happens a lot. Seems like I get the choice of dropping my stick or going to the box.
    I almost never see players penalized for holding the stick.
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