Becoming an Official
officials who work sanctioned games must register with the USA
Hockey Officiating Program. This involves the completion of a
simple registration form and the payment of a nominal annual registration
fee. After registering, the applicant must pass an open-book rules
exam that is designed to cover the basic playing rules that are
required at the lower levels. New officials will also have to
obtain a black hockey helmet, official's sweater, black trousers
and a whistle.
The Officiating Program conducts over 400 pre-season educational
seminars for its officials during the fall months. These full-day
seminars are mandatory for all officials registering with USA
Hockey. The content of these educational seminars ranges from
on-ice skills to rules interpretations to advanced theories
of officiating. As experience is gained, officials advance to
higher level seminars.
- Contact our local USA Hockey Supervisor of Officials for information
you will need to become a referee. The best time to contact
a supervisor is in July and August preceding the hockey season.
If you have not contacted a Supervisor for information by November,
it is probably too late to become a referee for that season.
You will have to try again the following summer.
- Complete a USA Hockey Referee Application Form and pay the
appropriate fee directly to USA Hockey in Colorado. You can
obtain an application at a seminar (mentioned later), or you
can sign up at the Officials
section of the USAhockey.com website. Upon receipt of your
application and fee, USA Hockey will mail you a rule book and
an open book rules exam. You can also obtain an online copy
of the USA Hockey Ice Hockey Rulebook/Casebook on the USA Hockey
here to download the 2011-2013 USA Hockey Rules & Casebook.
- Take the open book rules exam. Be sure to look up each rule
in your rule book. This will help you not only learn the rules,
but also how to navigate the rulebook to find what you need.
Once you have completed the exam, return the answer sheet directly
to USA Hockey in Colorado. You may be able to complete your
exam directly on the USA Hockey website and get your results
- Attend a USA Hockey Officiating Seminar anywhere in the country
(you do not have to attend one in your home area, but it would
be better so you can get to know other local officials). The
seminar should include a classroom portion as well as an on-ice
session. You should bring your rulebook and other applicable
materials if you have them along with a #2 pencil and notebook.
You will also need skates, a helmet and a whistle as a minimum
for the on-ice session. In order to receive credit for attending
the seminar, make sure that you have signed the official attendance
sheet at the end of the seminar. You will also recieve more
Officiating materials, such as the USA Hockey Basic Manual at
- Once you have passed the exam and attended a seminar, you
will receive your officiating crest and your referee ID card.
Place the crest on your officiating sweater. You are now fully
registered with USA Hockey as an official and you are covered
fully by USA Hockey medical and liability insurance (applicable
if you are injured while working a sanctioned USA Hockey game).
You are now eligible to officiate ice hockey games, and should
contact your local schedulers. See the tips on getting games.
Your registration is valid through November 30 of the following
If you fail the open-book rules exam, you will be given a second
opportunity to pass the test. Complete the exam more carefully
and return your results to USA Hockey. You are not fully registered
or eligible to skate games until you have passed the exam and
receive your crest & card.
- Contact one of the USA Hockey Supervisors and join WPHOA. You will join
as an apprentice member. A supervisor will then come to watch
you work one or more games in order to evaluate your skill level.
Once your officiating skills have reached the proper level,
you will be moved up to fulll member status. As your officiating
skills improve, you should get higher level games.
NOTE - Local schedulers (including WPHOA) will not come looking
for you just because you have completed the registration process
with USA Hockey. You MUST contact these schedulers in order
to get games.
- Skate, Skate, Skate! Experience is the best teacher, so the
more games you work, the better your skills will be!.