May 25th, 2004

Referee Outplacement Program

There are plenty of people who are tired of the quality of the officiating in the NHL. But only the Hockey Rodent has a plan to do something about it — namely, banashing the referees from the ice to the video booth:

First of all, the game improves immediately with the removal of two bodies from already-crowded NHL rinks. How often do we see them getting in the way of a forechecker, or a defender attempting to clear the puck away from intense forechecking?

Keep the two linesmen on the ice. But remove the referees.

Secondly, if we equip the linesmen with wireless transceivers, it would be simple for a remote individual to signal a penalty to the rink in real-time.

Say a rules violation is identified by referee Stephen Walkom in the studio. Word is instantly radioed to linesman Ray Scapinello on the ice. Scapinello then raises his arm and awaits the proper moment to blow the whistle.

While I’m sure there are obstacles I haven’t thought about (not the least of which would be getting the referees to agree to such a significant break with the past), this seems like a pretty exciting proposal that ought to be experimented with.

One Response to “Referee Outplacement Program”

  1. Dwight Shih says:

    Unless hockey suddenly becomes less violent, you still need to have enough officials on the ice to manage the game. I don’t think two linesmen are enough to police confrontations.

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