How to Become a Hockey Referee

The referee is the presiding official in a hockey game. He must enforce the rules consistently and impartially, and maintain order on the ice. If you want to become a hockey referee, follow these guidelines.


  1. Image titled Make Your Child a Good Hockey Player Step 11
    Make the necessary contacts. If you decide that you want to become a referee, contact your local youth or minor hockey association. The organization will put you in touch with the league's supervisor of officials or referee-in-chief, RIC. Contact the RIC immediately and be sure to find out:
    • When the next clinic for beginning referees is going to be held.
    • Total cost of the seminar. For a beginner's clinic, fees generally run about $25.
    • Age or other requirements.
  2. Image titled Understand the Game of Ice Hockey Step 2
    Attend a beginner's referee clinic. New hockey referees must complete an all-day clinic that includes administrative details and comprehensive instruction. Every referee, regardless of experience, must attend a U.S.A. Hockey-sanctioned clinic each year. Clinics are divided into 4 sections.
    • Enrollment: Pay your enrollment fee before starting the clinic. Also be prepared to complete registration and insurance forms. If you're a minor, you might be required to have parental permission before you can become a licensed hockey referee. Upon completion of the seminar, you will receive documentation that allows you to referee hockey games.
    • Classroom study: The majority of the clinic will be held in the classroom. A qualified instructor will teach aspiring referees the basics of officiating, including a comprehensive review of hockey rules. Referee clinics require you to pass an exam before moving on to on-ice instruction.
    • On-ice instruction: On-ice training covers skating, positioning and procedures. Instructors often lead clinic participants in a series of drills during on-ice instruction. This phase of the clinic usually lasts more than 1 hour.
    • Certification: When you are certified to officiate games, you will receive a membership card and your personal referee crest to wear on your uniform.
  3. Image titled Study the Medical Condition of Nephrotic Syndrome Step 9
    Find games to officiate. Contact the league you want to referee hockey games in to find out when the next scheduling meeting is. You can sign up to officiate games then, or submit your available dates to the league online.
  4. Image titled Understand the Game of Ice Hockey Step 4
    Start at the lowest levels.
    • The best way to learn the basics of hockey officiating is to referee games at the lowest levels. Pee wee games are where most players learn how to play, and they provide an excellent learning environment for new referees, too. It's easier to officiate games in beginner leagues because they do not allow checking. This enables you to concentrate on the flow of the game and work on your positioning. Finding the optimum vantage point on the ice is an important part of being an effective referee. After positioning becomes second nature to you, you can move to intermediate leagues where you will be required to call a wider range of penalties.
  5. Image titled Become a Better Ice Hockey Player Step 1
    If you are looking to succeed as a hockey official opportunities such as officiating seminars and camps are are great way to gain exposure. Another great opportunity is the online course at
  6. Image titled Understand the Game of Ice Hockey Step 7
    Accept the challenges you'll face as a new hockey referee. Officials in every sport face similar difficulties. How you confront yours will go a long way toward determining your success as a hockey referee. By keeping in mind certain principles, you can perform your role as a referee effectively and with integrity.
    • Criticism: All referees will be second-guessed by fans, player and coaches. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to be happy with your officiating every game.
    • Conditioning: A referee must be an excellent skater. Hockey officials stay on the ice the entire game, forcing them to skate several miles each contest. Referees also must be able to skate backward efficiently and change direction quickly.
    • Learning: You can improve your officiating in a number of ways. Ask experienced officials questions. Watch them during games. Continually review the rulebook.
    • Ethics: It's important to remember that, as the referee, you're something of a role model. Conduct yourself accordingly by always being firm, fair and courteous. Your chief goal as the presiding official of a game is to ensure that the game is played safely so that everyone can have fun.


  • The best referees for kids are the ones who can make a call and explain to the player why they made the call. This helps educate the kids on how to play a fair game and eliminates confusion.
  • Let the game happen around you. You aren't there to play, you are there to call the mistakes.

Article Info

Categories: Field Hockey and Lacrosse | Ice Hockey