“If the messaging is the same to the referees, as it is to the coaches, but it’s not being adopted by a hockey director, or accepted within a hockey association, then it’s never going to work,” Carnathan said. “Where I’ve seen the most success is when you have a hockey director tell their coaches, hey listen, abuse toward officials from parents and coaches isn’t going to be tolerated.
“If the directive doesn’t come from the top, it’s not going to take hold. If we’re not aligned, if we’re not communicating the same expectations, we’re going to get stuck in an age that paints hockey in a bad light, and that’s not what anybody wants.”
Carnathan informs his players and parents that it’s his job as a coach to communicate with officials during games. He said that roughly 9,000 officials enter through USA Hockey each year and statistically half do not register the following season.
“I never got better as an official because somebody yelled at me,” Carnathan said. “My game never got to the next level because somebody was on my case. Oftentimes, especially at the younger level, we have newer officials, and the only way we’re going to get better officiating is if those guys aren’t being harassed every time they take the ice.”
The most rewarding part for Carnathan is the opportunity to help coach officials as they come up through the ranks.
“And certainly, when I was in their shoes, there were numerous people along the way that helped with my officiating career,” Carnathan said. “You have to help those people out. Everybody needs a push, and it makes you feel great to see somebody progress to a higher level.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.