Over the past decade the number of hockey
referees in Ontario has been in a rapid steady decline, which is jeopardizing
the ability of Minor Hockey Associations to operate hockey programs for
Below are some statistics presented at
the OMHA Annual General Meeting in June 2019.
- 10 years ago, there were 6000 officials in Ontario
- In past 10 years we have recruited 7500 additional officials, mainly 14-20 years old’s
- DESPITE THESE EFFORTS , TODAY THERE ARE NOW ONLY 4200 OFFICIALS
- In 2016-17 of the 750 officials trained, 30% of the officials under the age of 18 resigned the following year, in 2017 another 20% resigned
- The resignation rate of young officials recruited in 2017-2018 was similar in the 2018-2019 season
- There were 7 cases of officials assaulted in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 another 4 officials were assaulted and there were three cases of coaches and/or parents entering the officials room after a game and threatening them
- Close to 50 % of our officials are over 40 years old and many cannot officiate the required three man bantam or four man midget systems
To be clear, this decline is the direct result of referees being verbally abused.
- In Orillia for interest, there are almost no refs between 18 and 40, similar case in New Tecumseh
Simply put, if this trend continues Minor Hockey Associations in Ontario will simply be unable to provide hockey to children who just want to play hockey. The impact of this shortage is already being felt, and will have a major impact on our younger players just starting out.
Please make an effort to support our referees, especially young referees that are still learning. We are a small hockey association, and while we may not have the ability to change this trend everywhere in Ontario we can definitely reverse this trend in our own community and ensure we have enough referees to support Minor Hockey for children in our community.