Everyone quits things from time to time, but it seems that no group is quite as adept at and familiar with quitting as hockey officials. Hockey Canada, for example, reports that about 10,000 hockey officials quit officiating minor games each year!
Why do you think so many people are saying “good riddance!” to this line of work? Well, it’s not the pay or boredom or anything like that. Believe it or not, the number one reason given for quitting the hockey officiating game is because of verbal abuse from parents of players…and sometimes even from the players and coaches themselves!
These people are likely to yell and scream at hockey officials when they don’t like a judgment call. Sometimes, things even turn physical or the yelling and screaming gets laced with profanity. Plus, not only do these hockey officials, many of whom are, as mentioned above, volunteering their time, get subjected to regular abuse, but they’re just plain not appreciated by a lot of people.
Most parents are quick to complain about the quality or knowledge level of officials, not taking into account that many hockey officials are young and still learning or that they’re volunteers who are officiating out of the kindness of their hearts.
The bottom line is that hockey officials quit officiating because of poor treatment and because it can start to seem like there’s nothing in it for them, not even a little appreciation.
If you want to stop this treatment of hockey officials, remember that it can all begin with you! Show appreciation and support to your officials, aim to treat them kindly no matter what, and stand up for them when they get “bullied.” If you can do this, then your children and others are likely to follow your example, which can make a big and positive difference, especially to the officials themselves.