All officials who work sanctioned games must register with the USA Hockey Officiating Program. This involves the completion of a simple registration form and the payment of a nominal annual registration fee. After registering, the applicant must pass an open-book rules exam that is designed to cover the basic playing rules that are required at the lower levels. New officials will also have to obtain a black hockey helmet, official's sweater, black trousers and a whistle.
The Officiating Program conducts over 400 pre-season educational seminars for its officials during the fall months. These full-day seminars are mandatory for all officials registering with USA Hockey. The content of these educational seminars ranges from on-ice skills to rules interpretations to advanced theories of officiating. As experience is gained, officials advance to higher level seminars.
Contact our local USA Hockey Supervisor of Officials for information you will need to become a referee. The best time to contact a supervisor is in July and August preceding the hockey season. If you have not contacted a Supervisor for information by November, it is probably too late to become a referee for that season. You will have to try again the following summer.
- Complete a USA Hockey Referee Application Form and pay the appropriate fee directly to USA Hockey in Colorado. You can obtain an application at a seminar (mentioned later), or you can sign up at the Officials section of the USAhockey.com website. Upon receipt of your application and fee, USA Hockey will mail you a rule book and an open book rules exam. You can also obtain an online copy of the USA Hockey Ice Hockey Rulebook/Casebook on the USA Hockey site. Click here to download the latest USA Hockey Rules & Casebook .
- Take the open book rules exam. Be sure to look up each rule in your rule book. This will help you not only learn the rules, but also how to navigate the rulebook to find what you need. Once you have completed the exam, return the answer sheet directly to USA Hockey in Colorado. You may be able to complete your exam directly on the USA Hockey website and get your results immediately.
- Attend a USA Hockey Officiating Seminar anywhere in the country (you do not have to attend one in your home area, but it would be better so you can get to know other local officials). The seminar should include a classroom portion as well as an on-ice session. You should bring your rulebook and other applicable materials if you have them along with a #2 pencil and notebook. You will also need skates, a helmet and a whistle as a minimum for the on-ice session. In order to receive credit for attending the seminar, make sure that you have signed the official attendance sheet at the end of the seminar. You will also recieve more Officiating materials, such as the USA Hockey Basic Manual at the seminar.
- Once you have passed the exam and attended a seminar, you will receive your officiating crest and your referee ID card. Place the crest on your officiating sweater. You are now fully registered with USA Hockey as an official and you are covered fully by USA Hockey medical and liability insurance (applicable if you are injured while working a sanctioned USA Hockey game). You are now eligible to officiate ice hockey games, and should contact your local schedulers. See the tips on getting games. Your registration is valid through November 30 of the following year.
- If you fail the open-book rules exam, you will be given a second opportunity to pass the test. Complete the exam more carefully and return your results to USA Hockey. You are not fully registered or eligible to skate games until you have passed the exam and receive your crest & card.
- Contact one of the USA Hockey Supervisors and join WPHOA (see the link on the left for an application). You will join as an apprentice member. A supervisor will then come to watch you work one or more games in order to evaluate your skill level. Once your officiating skills have reached the proper level, you will be moved up to fulll member status. As your officiating skills improve, you should get higher level games.
- NOTE - Local schedulers (including WPHOA) will not come looking for you just because you have completed the registration process with USA Hockey. You MUST contact these schedulers in order to get games.
- Skate, Skate, Skate! Experience is the best teacher, so the more games you work, the better your skills will be! Keep working games and attending WPHOA meetings.
Further information can be found on the Officials section of the USAhockey.com website. You can also see the WPHOA page on getting games.