News for the ACHA Officials!
Important Notice for Teams and Officials- May 11, 2005
At the ACHA meetings in Florida the topic of officiating was discussed at both the General Membership Meeting and the individual Divisional Break-Out meetings. The ACHA has agreed that the officials that are currently working ACHA games need support from the ACHA. This support in turn will help to improve the consistency and over-all quality of the games and how they are officiated. The officials are an important part of the game. We need to make sure we give them as much information as possible and set some standards for what we expect from the officials, the players, and the member teams.
The first step in this process is mandating that all ACHA games are officiated by USA Hockey registered officials. USA Hockey provides the players insurance for the ACHA members, therefore we must insist that the officials also be registered and complete as a USA Hockey official. This will help to insure that there are no issues with the player’s insurance, it will also make sure that the officials have the same coverage as the players on the ice. Each local officials group assigning the ACHA games will need an ACHA Officials Roster. This form should be filled out by the local officials group, or assignor that schedules your home games. The roster must be submitted to me so that I can create a database of officials that are working ACHA games. Officials groups must have the approval of the ACHA in order to assign games. In addition, the officials must be a USA Hockey level 3 or higher official. Again, insurance is the main reason. ACHA is considered “Adult Hockey”. USA Hockey has a criteria for each level. Officials that are not a level 3 officials, that are currently working ACHA games, will be considered on a case by case basis. The local officials group or assignor should contact me directly or their local ACHA supervisor. It is the member teams’ responsibility to make sure they are using officials that have registered with the ACHA and USA Hockey.
The ACHA will also publish an ACHA/NCAA Rules exam that the officials will be required to take. Their score must be listed on the roster. This exam will be designed to make sure the officials know the differences between the NCAA rules, the USA Hockey rules, and any ACHA rule differences. In addition, each officials group will receive a summary of the differences. Officials will also have access to a Q&A section of the ACHA web page.
After the local officials group has submitted their roster they will have to purchase ACHA crests that the officials must wear on their sweaters. This will help the local ACHA teams know if the officials who are working the games have met the ACHA requirements. If an official is not wearing an ACHA crest or at least a current USA Hockey crest, they have not completed the requirements. You should notify both your Divisional Commissioner and myself if the problem occurs. We will contact the local officials group and investigate.
The on-ice officiating systems were also discussed and the following systems are the only approved systems in the ACHA.
Division 1- The 1 Referee and 2 Assistant Referees System must be used.
Division 2- The 1 Referee and 2 Assistant Referees System or the 2 Official System must be used.
Division 3- The 1 Referee and 2 Assistant Referees System must be used.
This will help to insure that the officials are all using the same systems throughout the nation. Some examples of non-approved systems are the 2 Referee and 1 Linesman System and the 2 Referee and 2 Linesman System. The ACHA will offer Power-Point slide shows outlining the mechanics of the approved systems and duties of the on-ice officials. Your local officials group should contact me directly for access to those materials.
The hope is that the local officials groups will have a meeting before the season and review the positioning, rules, and mechanics of the systems being used in the ACHA. At that point they will take their test and submit their rosters. They will then purchase their crests and by the end of October, they will have met the requirements. I think that it is unfair to ask the officials to be registered with the ACHA before the start of the season, as this is a new program and we should give the local officials groups time to adjust. However, I do feel that by 11/15/05 the officials groups should all have their information turned in and their ACHA crests.
The only way for this to work is for the member teams to insist that their local officials follow the guidelines that we set up in Florida. I think it is safe to say that 99% of the officials want to do a good job on the ice. If we, the ACHA, make sure that we give our officials as much information as we can, and set some minimum standards as to how we want to games officiated, that game as a whole will only improve. I think the local officials will be excited to have an opportunity to improve their skills and know that they have an open line to the ACHA, through the Referee-In-Chief.
The tests will be ready on September 1st. We need the local officials groups to contact me so that I can issue the test and the roster forms. Please contact me via email or by phone and let me know what teams you are assigning, number of officials working the games, systems used, etc. I will keep a check list of all of the teams and who assigns the officials. I will also contact any member team by August 1st if I have not heard from your officials group.
This is going to be quite a challenge for me as the first ACHA Referee-In-Chief. I am confident that with the help of the ACHA Board, the Divisional Commissioners, and the Member Teams, we can make this happen. I look forward to meeting each of you over the coming seasons and I wish you all the best of luck. Please, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.