Response on Officials…

Andy, speaking of numbers, did our (mostly) five-on-three debacle against Tri Cities set any team records? Being shorthanded is one thing, but the frequency of five-on-three play and four-minute penalties has to be some kind of record! Now, I know you cannot comment regarding officiating, but is it true the WHL is a development league for refs, too? In that context, could you name any refs you consider fair and unbiased? Appreciate you and your expertise.

The above was a comment on my previous post and I thought instead of burying a long response in the comments, I’d throw it out here.

First off, I don’t know or think that any “records” had been set as far as power plays go in the game against Tri-City on Friday night.  And, yes, the WHL is a development league for officials as well as players.  Most officials in the WHL range in age from their early 20’s to mid 30’s and I would think it would be safe to say that a good majority would like to move on to the pro ranks as an official.  (And some already are working both WHL and minor pro games currently.)

But, lets get to the crux of the post…regarding fair and unbiased.  Well…I think it is impossible for any person to be 100% unbiased.  It is human nature to have a bias and there is no way that anyone can be 100% objective.  The officials in the WHL are not unfeeling, uncaring robots.   They can be influenced by any number of factors but I honestly believe that I don’t think any of them enter the ice before a game thinking “boy…can’t wait to screw over the home team tonight”.

As far as the “fair” part of your statement.  That is very subjective and hard to determine.  All I ask for from an official or pair of officials is that they are consistent in their calls.  A penalty on red would be called the same if a player in white made the same infraction or a penalty in the first period is a penalty in the third period or overtime.  I don’t always see that and that is usually the catalyst of my frustration with officials most nights.

I will preface what I’m saying by pointing out that prior to becoming a broadcaster, I was as vocal as anyone criticizing refs during games…just ask my family.   I spent many a game yelling insults as many fans do now.  That is a fans prerogative as they pay hard earned dollars to watch the game and I won’t ever discourage fans from expressing their frustrations as long as it is doesn’t go too far.  It was disappointing to see fans throwing debris on the ice on New Years Eve at the Rose Garden.  It is senseless…

Now that I’m a broadcaster, I still get frustrated and I try not to let that show, although it still does from time-to-time.  I’m human, too.  Fan and sometimes players, coaches and broadcasters focus too much on the guys wearing stripes.   That is human nature as well.  But to expect 100% fair and unbiased officiating is just not a reasonable expectation, IMO.

I welcome any differing thoughts in the comment section…just keep it in within the boundaries of good taste…

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