ZURICH – Top IIHF referees from Europe and North America recently wrapped up the second annual IIHF Officiating Training Seminar in Magglingen, Switzerland. Rules implementation, mental preparation and an analysis of psychological conditions for game officials were among the key topics featured at the seminar.
IIHF referees, IIHF Officiating Committee members, Directors of Officiating from seven top European Leagues along with federation representatives came together for two days last weekend to discuss rules issues, undergo conditioning tests, and listen to presentations related to the officiating top-level hockey games.
The seminar was led by an officiating staff that included IIHF Officiating Manager Konstantin Komissarov, Terry Gregson, the NHL’s Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating, Dave Smith, Director of Fitness & Medical for the NHL, along with Andrea Zryd and Rolf Altorfer of BASPO, Switzerland’s federal bureau for sports and physical activity based in Magglingen.
The number of top level IIHF officials involved increased from 16 to 27 from last year. After an opening series of off-ice conditioning tests to compare the fitness level of the participants from last year, discussions were held regarding rule interpretations, particularly those regarding boarding and spearing, two infractions that led to a number of suspensions at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Mental preparation for officials was also in the agenda at the seminar for the first time. Komissarov presented two papers related to psychological support for game officials and strategies to avoid mental burn out for officials who routinely go through a heavy workload of games.
“This was the first time we had approached this concept since the Olympics in Salt Lake,” said Komissarov. “It is important for officials to be mentally and psychologically prepared for the game and be knowledgeable about what kind of tools they can use to prepare themselves, things like how to deal with difficult coaches, difficult players, and knowing how to handle certain situations that happen on the ice.”
“When officials reach a certain skill level in their profession, they may stop or slow their conditioning, and with a game schedule that can overload them at times it can lead to them getting burned out. These guys are human after all and it’s important for Directors Officiating in the leagues to know about this.”
The co-operation effort between the European leagues, NHL and IIHF officiating staff began in the autumn of 2008 with the first IIHF/NHL Officiating Seminar. It was an extension of the IIHF referee exchange program, which has been in place for eight years.
“It’s a great example of close cooperation between the IIHF, NHL and top level IIHF referees and officiating staff in the European leagues,” said Komissarov. “The collective teamwork that goes into these seminars and the information that is passed around is so beneficial for all sides.”