The third annual conference for Ice Hockey UK Referee Section took place in Nottingham recently, with almost 250 officials from all levels of the game and from all parts of the UK coming together for a two-day event.
From newly-qualified Level 1 officials up to Level 7 Elite League officials, the UK’s #TeamStripes enjoyed several keynote sessions across the weekend, as well as the respective groups breaking off for level-specific workshops with their managers and coaches.
Guest speakers such as Stacey Livingston from USA Hockey, Todd Anderson from Hockey Canada and Kim Pedersen from the Danish Federation talked to the group about different aspects of being an official, including managing emotions, stress and decision making.
The whole group also enjoyed a great presentation from Dr Steve Ingham, a sports scientist, who has worked with over 1,000 high performance athletes and taken over 200 to an Olympic or World medal.
Across the weekend as well as workshops and presentations, all officials completed their skating tests at the National Ice Centre, while Levels 3 and above also underwent off-ice physical fitness testing at the Nottingham University’s state of the art Sports Village.
There was time over the weekend to recognise the achievements of colleagues who had gained international recognition, Champions Hockey League games or been allocated to National Finals throughout the season.
Andy Dalton also spoke to the whole group about his journey with the IIHF which this past season saw him officiate at the top division of the Men’s World Championship.
After two full days the whole UK #TeamStripes family headed home energised and raring to begin the 2019/20 season at their respective levels.
IHUK Chief Referee Joy Johnston said: “As a section we always try and think of new ways to keep the event fresh and to improve year-on-year.
“I think part of the reason why this year has raised the bar yet again is that the officials see National Conference as their key weekend to set themselves up for the season ahead.
“We had a varied range of guest speakers alongside the regular training sessions and they covered all aspects of the modern game for officials.”
Michael Evans, IHUK Assistant Chief Referee, added: “Team Stripes started as a hashtag in our first season but it’s now developed into a culture. It’s a culture that the officials are taking ownership of and driving forward themselves, without the management influencing that.
“The officials had their presentation on high performing teams and they are now in control of setting the team norms for behaviour and standards expected of an IHUK Official and holding each other accountable.”
Details for the next wave of Level 1 courses will be confirmed in due course.