Over two days in the last weekend of February Ice Hockey Australia hosted the inaugural Virtual National Officiating Seminar. This seminar, open to all officials in IHA was attended by over 50 officials from all member states and association. Additional attendees from various coaching and disciplinary portfolios where also able to participate. While this was the first time IHA has ever been able to address all officials in a single forum, it was also the first use of virtual officiating seminars. Technical issues were expected and experienced however, with the assistance of Ice Hockey NSW who hosted the in-person component of the seminar in their Sydney facilities, these were overcome.
The bulk of this seminar was devoted to the challenges of officiating the modern game of Ice Hockey that is skill and speed driven. Reviewing the procedures and technicalities of the Four Official System that will be utilised in all IHA National Championships, Tournaments and events going forward. An overview of intent and introduction was made to the IHA Case Book that has been released to complement the IIHF Rule Book. This was followed by an in-depth review of the document and its rule interpretation contained within.
The IIHF Rule Book as a stand-alone document is not fit for the purpose to set officiating standards in Australia. The game of Ice Hockey has progressed to a fast-paced skilled game with the elimination of clutch and grab style hockey. Australia must follow suit with officiating standards that allow skill and speed to dominate the game. IHA has also implemented an enhanced focus on player safety; increased enforcement of penalties that place players in dangerous situations with a zero-tolerance policy for any contact to the head and neck. This document is available to be viewed here IHA Case Book 2018-2022
Feedback received from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. As a result, this seminar will now form an integral part of the IHA officiating calendar going forward.
Further feedback from attendees, along with any feedback on the IHA Case Book is welcome. Please contact your member state or association RIC. All officiating portfolio directions and determinations are reviewed at the quarterly officiating council meetings in which all member states and association participate.