One of the ways tournament organizers wanted to drive home the fact that officials are regular people was having them share their story to spectators prior to each game.
“Really hard to yell at a guy like that who’s doing it for the right reasons,” said Minnesota Hockey Program Manager Mike Terwilliger. “I thought it set a nice tone for how the parents were going to treat them.”
The impetus behind the tournament was in February, Terwilliger was in charge of a 12U tournament in which the players, coaches and fans berated the officials the entire time.
“That’s always a hot button issue for me,” Andresen said. “It’s really hard to comprehend how there’s this culture that, ‘Well, it’s okay to yell at officials — that’s just what we do.’ We just completely forget that they’re human and make mistakes like all of us. We wouldn’t be able to do these events without these officials who aren’t making their living off officiating at youth sporting events. They do get paid, but it’s side money. We need them. We need more of them and we’re going to lose them if it’s accepted that you can yell and scream and tell them how terrible they are that they’re ruining the game for the kids.”
Eight 12U teams participated in the tournament: Armstrong-Cooper, Anoka, Bloomington Jefferson, Cambridge-Isanti, Le Sueur-St. Peter, New Ulm-Sleepy Eye, St. Michael-Albertville and St. Paul Capitals. According to Andresen, the event went off without a hitch.
“It was great,” Andresen said. “We absolutely have plans to do it more, at a the girls level, too. Some of the things we witnessed went over a lot better than what we expected.”