The Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Force Sports, the official sponsor of the OMHA Referee Program, hosted four Referee Schools to train and mentor new officials. The schools in Oshawa, Oakville, Windsor and Komoka were part of the program’s 26th 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 classroom instructional sessions, two on-ice training sessions and a final written certification exam.
“This is our opportunity to bring on new officials and give the opportunity to a lot of hockey players to see the other side of the game,” said Brad Upton, OMHA Referee Supervisor and Referee School Instructor. “At the school, it’s an opportunity for anybody who wants to get into officiating and wants to stay involved in the game and give back to the game.”
“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.”
Students received a Fox40 whistle, Referee School Workbook and Hockey Canada, Ontario Hockey Federation and OMHA uniform cresting.
There are hundreds of new referees trained each year in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association with over 250 graduating from the OMHA Referee School program. There are currently over 4,500 active officials registered with the OMHA.
Those still interested in becoming an Official should reach out to their local Association and keep an eye out for entry level clinics.
Associations are encouraged to nominate young officials entering the program in 2022-23 or have been officiating for less than three years for the OMHA’s Referee Assist Program.
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