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Official's Corner: March Edition

By Eugene Binda, 03/26/20, 7:15PM EDT


Changes for the 2020-21 Season All Positive

We know over the next three seasons there will be a lot of turnover in the college ranks at all levels and we will need qualified officials to fill these positions.

The first major steps we are taking are to expand development camps over the spring and summer, which focus on the NCAA Rules and Mechanics. These camps are free to anyone looking to advance to college hockey officiating.

The camp agenda includes classroom sessions, ice sessions and live games, which are observed by well-respected observers in the east so we can give the participants instant feedback.

USPHL: Official Referees Crease Junior Development League

We have also made a change to our approach towards development.

The United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) is the only league in the East at the junior level which uses the NCAA Rules and Procedures. That is why I have taken the position to exclusively use the USPHL for development and advancement for college hockey officiating.

The league has a strong record on player safety, zero tolerance on fighting and violent actions by players, which is more in line with the NCAA.

Less is more, they say. With so many rulebooks and interpretations, it makes it hard for all players, coaches and especially officials to keep them straight, so by staying with one rulebook for juniors only makes sense.

The USPHL also has a USA Hockey component for its Tier-1 Midgets, which is an entrance point to the junior program. The USPHL officiating development program also will have a secondary training component throughout the season to help with their development to the junior ranks.

Summer Training

For those interested in the summer program, Alfonso Botchagaloupe, longtime supervisor in the East, said “We are looking for officials who are ‘coachable.’ These events help us find out who is willing to listen and adjust to make it to the next level.” 

Mike Schubert, who assigns youth through D1 ACHA Hockey in Philadelphia, agrees and points out that many officials who work through the offseason are better for it.

There is so much hockey during the winter it gets harder to see the same official more than once or twice during the season, especially at the lower levels.

We know the new officials are a little nervous when it comes to the games and trying to make it to the next level. All we are looking for when we talk to the officials about skating or positioning is they make the adjustment. If we get to see the official early enough in the summer and think they have potential, we invite them back for more tournaments and for more coaching.

“We have been very successful in the region,” says Schubert. “We have more officials working locally at the junior and college level in the last five years. The success of identifying officials during the summer has really paved the way for officials to advance with a jump start before the season begins.

The ultimate goal is to make hockey a better experience for all and at the same time advance those with the time, effort, and passion to make it to the higher levels.

Below is the information that can help pave the way for advancement. There are several tournaments in the New England and Atlantic Districts. Referees Crease is already starting the summer tournament assignments for July and August, if you are interested in advancing or just getting better.

For those officials looking to advance looking or additional training feel free to reach out to me ( There is no charge for the training, just a commitment to getting better!

For those officials who are currently USA Registered or Members of National Ice Hockey Officials (NIHOA) Association who are interested in advancing to the junior and collegiate levels, we have several midget and junior tournaments throughout the season that will include secondary training on player safety, game management, and on ice mechanics for all officiating systems.

After successful completion of the classes you will added to the staffs at the junior level to The United States Premier Hockey League, the development league for the Atlantic Hockey Association, College Hockey America a Division 1 Women’s League, the Northeast-10, and at the Division III level, the Commonwealth Coast Conference and the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

For those interested please contact me at or Gene Binda Jr. at

Training is available with classroom training at the Foxboro Sports Center, Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Valley Forum in Haverhill, Boch Arena in Dedham and at the Atlantic Hockey Office in Winthrop, Mass.