Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Force Sports, the official sponsor of the OMHA Referee Program, hosted three Referee Schools last weekend to train and mentor new officials. The schools in Trenton, Windsor and Guelph were part of the program’s 25th year of providing new officials with the start of their officiating experience.
The OMHA Referee Schools offer new officials the methods and procedures of officiating in both the 2 and 3 official systems. They instruct uniform interpretation of the rules while teaching effective communication strategies and techniques. By completing the weekend, students acquired officiating skills and rule knowledge while gaining OMHA and Hockey Canada certification requirements for the upcoming season.
The weekend included an intensive, action packed agenda with three classroom instructional sessions, two on-ice training sessions and a final written certification exam.
“The Schools set the foundation for our new officials, providing the students a learning environment in the classroom that encourages participation and active on-ice modules which illustrate the fundamentals of the Officiating Program,” said Dave Wedlake, Chair, Referee Program for the OMHA. “We have been delivering the Referee School Program for over 20 years which indicates the high standard and value of this program.”
Force Sports provided each student with a School t-shirt as well as other giveaways. Students also received a Fox40 whistle, Hockey Canada Rule Book, Membership Handbook for Officials, Referee School Workbook, and Hockey Canada, Ontario Hockey Federation and OMHA uniform cresting.
Award winners from Windsor's school included Chace Pretty, Ryan Jeffrey, Caleb Laframboise and Austin Tucker.
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There are over 850 new referees trained each year in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association with 250 graduating from the OMHA Referee School program. There are currently over 4,500 active officials registered with the OMHA.
"Referees are a vital part of the hockey community and the OMHA is proud to host these Referee Schools to welcome the next generation of officials to minor hockey,” stated Ian Taylor, OMHA Executive Director. “There are many ways to get involved with hockey and being a Referee allows for them to continue fostering a love for the game."