The National Hockey League was born in 1917.
The players did not have a union until 1967, fifty years later.
Two years after that, the referees finally had their own association.
Now, they have their own website!
When you visit NHL Officials.com, you'll notice it's a nicely designed site. Inside is the current list and biographies of referees and linemen working this season, as well as alumni. There's news involving referees like Ian Walsh's recap of his first game at the Prudential Center in Newark or even news about Tim Nowak's wife running a marathon.
My favorite part is the referee signals section, where you can understand every call as demonstrated by a different NHL zebra.
Slashing by Rob Schick (of Schick showing you how they punish thieves in the old world)
Kneeing by Kerry Fraser (or a game of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)
Boarding by Bill McCreary (or McCreary wanting to know where his money is, bitch!)
There's even a merchandise section, but you won't find anything labeled with the NHLOA logo, nope, just plain items from shorts, to hats, to shirts (RBK of course, but I doubt they rip easy), to golf towels, to tote bags, and even a whistle!
An interesting section is the "Health and Wellness" page that lists a sample training program for referees during the off-season.
* 5 days a week / Up to 2 hrs a day
* Strength twice a week
* Aerobics twice a week
* Run, bike, roller blade or other activity once a week
* Weight training utilizing a variety of programs with changes in repetitions, sets, tempo and exercises.
* Push-ups using varying arm position and use of blocks
* Sit ups, crunches - proper form is very important
* Leg Strength (lunges, squats, step ups)
* Use heart rate monitor to maximize training zones
* Run - 15 min increasing to 60 min.
* Ice sprints - 30 sec increasing to 60 sec.
* Bike - 35 min increasing to 60 min.
* Roller blade or Stairmaster
* Jump rope and plyometric exercises with Resistance Bands to increase foot speed and agility
Cardiovascular Exercise (Run, Bike, Stepper or Glider)
* Warm up (5 min)
* 1 minute increasing intensity intervals for 30 min in your target heart rate zone
* One minute work, one to two minutes rest intervals
* Lower the intensity if you are not recovering to your original Heart Rate after first work/rest interval
* Cool down (5 to 8 minutes)
* You should monitor Heart rate at all times
Wondering what they do during the season in-between the games and traveling to games?
* 15- 20 minute warm up before games
* Light jog, bike or jump rope to warm up muscles and joints and increase Heart Rate
* Stretch and flexibility as a daily wellness program
* Aerobic Exercise 2 or 3 times a week on non game days
* Strength and Resistance exercises are done as travel and game schedule allows. Maintaining a base throughout the season will allow an easier transition into the off season training program and helps promote an overall healthy and productive lifestyle.
It's obvious if you watch closely that these refs need to be in great shape, definitely something Major League Baseball should look into. You think baseball umpire Bruce Froemming could hop, on skates, onto a dasher board and hold himself up there for a few seconds while there's action below him? I don't think so.
Every September, the officials hold a training camp where they all get medical reviews and off-ice evaluations. If officials do not pass the review, they do not go on the ice that season. Also during training camp is their annual meeting where elections for executive council are held. Once the camp ends, each of the officials leave and head off to their first assignment of the season.
Interested in becoming an NHL referee? Then you'll be sure to check out the list of schools that will help you climb the ladder and reach the big-time as well as the tips page to help give you all the information you'll need. The infamous Don Koharski runs his own referee and development camp, just make sure Jim Schoenfield doesn't show up or things might get ugly.
Ever wanted an answer to a refereeing question or call you saw in a game that left you scratching your head? Then head on over the message board where you're questions will be answered by a real NHL referee! If you want a question answered, do not ask Mick McGeough about what happened in Edmonton.
Ladies, do you constantly dream about legendary referee Don Koharski? Can't get Koho out of your head? Well, here's your chance to capture him in action on your computer, forever.
That's right, Don Koharski wallpaper!! Now, my life is complete.