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A Moving Puck is an Official's Best Friend

September 13, 2022, 6:27 PM ET [0 Comments]
Paul Stewart
Blogger •Former NHL Referee • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulStewart22

One of the first bits of advice I give to aspiring officials -- and reminders to current ones -- is this: The moving puck is an official's best friend. When the puck is moving, the players (and coaches and the crowd) focus on the game. When the puck stops. the nonsense begins.

I will share with you some of my pointers to the officials on how they can do their part to minimize the nonsense after the whistles.

1) Attempt to communicate with the coaches and players, within reason. Use good, old-fashioned common sense. Try to keep the games moving, and with the players staying in the game as well as the coaches.

2) If there is abuse from players, coaches or "fans", try your absolute best to maintain a good presence and act professionally iin your decision making. You will never go wrong by using good judgment. Counting to 10 is a lot to ask, but try getting to five and then think about what is the best course of action and the best able to be defended.

3) Swearing at players and coaches: Please don't do it!! The Rule Book is your guide and your shield. Stay within the rules.

4) Be a professional from the time you report to the arena until the time you leave. Be on time. Be dressed like you are going somewhere important. No drinking or smoking within the arena or its immediate vicinity. Down the road is your own business. But when are there to work, be aware that people are watching you.

5) The cardinal rules apply to every game you work: Skate where you need to skate to see what you need to see. The money is at the net, so skate and get there. Every assignment you work is the most important game in the world that particular night.

Follow these five steps and the good nights at the "office" will outnumber the bad ones. May the flow be with you.


A 2018 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee.  On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games. Visit Paul's official websites, YaWannaGo.com and Officiating by Stewart.
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