Since 2010, I’ve been a loud and proud hockey mom, now I’m mom to my favorite referee. Oh yes, my Goalielocks has become a zebra. The oft maligned position in sports is as critical to the sport as it is criticized. It’s a tough position with lot’s of pressure in any environment. When you throw crazy hockey parents on top of that it’s a lot.
There are a lot of great reasons for your kid to become a referee many of which I’ll cover here. I’ll start with the obvious: they make good money as a teen. I’m so excited for my second born to have his own income. There’s no better way for him to understand the value of a dollar then by earning his own. In order to make the same money at a normal “teen” job, he’d have to work more than double the hours. With his intense school schedule and travel hockey schedule, refereeing is the perfect part time job for him.
Selfishly, it’s been nice because I’ve learned a lot. We’ve got a couple of rule books around the house and I watched some of the modules with him. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the rules from my referee friends. (Extra bonus is that he now gets to work with these fabulous people.). Nonetheless, there’s still a knowledge gap. Thankfully, when I’m watching a game and have a question about a call or a rule, he can explain it to me.
It’s also a great way for hockey player to learn the game and see it in a different light. Goalielocks has been in net for close to a decade and before that played out as a forward. When you referee a game, you see it in a whole different way. One that gives you appreciate and enhances your knowledge of the game. What could be bad about that?
In addition, to enhancing their knowledge of the game, refereeing gives young referees the opportunity to learn important life skills. Hockey is a fast game and being able to see and make the right call is awesome. The ability to make decisions under pressure is a crucial skill that will translate well into adulthood.
Lastly, and I’m sure I’m missing many reasons, it teaches them conflict resolution. There will be times that calls are made that coaches, parents and players will disagree with. As a referee, their job is resolve that conflict as professionally as possible. These conflicts can be highly emotional and aren’t always easy to solve, but this teaches a valuable life skill. Where else can a teenager get that kind of on the job experience?
As for my young zebra, he refereed his first squirt game with his mentor. It was his first full ice game, but he picked up quickly. As his games progressed yesterday, it was fun to watch him grow increasingly confident in his role. He capped off his day by scorekeeping a couple of rec games, so he could learn how to use the clock.
For all my Florida hockey parents, your kid can start refereeing at fourteen. The referee seminars are held in the fall throughout Florida. If you have any questions, let me know!
Looking for referee gear, you can shop his look here: