Elite League adopts 4-officials policy

Monday, 18th August 2008

The start of the new ice hockey season will see the bmibaby Elite League operating with four officials – two referees and two linesmen – in every game.

The use of four officials is now commonplace in North America in the National Hockey league and the American Hockey League, together with the SM:liiga in Finland and it is encouraged by the International Ice Hockey Federation as the right way to go for member countries domestic leagues.

All the Elite League officials, together with a new group of ‘stripey’s’ looking to progress their officiating careers, recently attended a two-day training camp at the Coventry Skydome Arena in order to familiarise themselves with the new system. Arto Jarvela, the referee in Chief from Finland who is also an IIHF supervisor assisted at the camp as the busy schedule included on-ice drills, extensive video review and formal instruction on how to best implement the use of the fourth official.

Elite League Director of Hockey Andy French noted, “The use of four officials is now widely used in the top leagues around the world, and we felt the time was right to introduce the system going into the new season. Everyone wants the officiating to continually improve and for our officials to be recognised for international events, the four-man system needed to be adopted sooner rather than later. This is a great move by the league and should benefit the game as a whole.”

Speaking on behalf of the officials, Referee in Chief of IHUK Simon Kirkham  added, “The other big benefit to the league is that the use of four officials gives all the younger guys a chance to move up a level, and in so doing create more opportunities for people to get into the sport as officials.”