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All Stephen Walkom

from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,

THN: You started as an NHL official in 1990. What do you think is the biggest change in calling a game between then and now?

WALKOM: It used to be, when you refereed the game, it was “your game.” You refereed the game. There was really no NHL standard on penalty calling and enforcement. Now in the game, there’s a standard on everything from how we set up at faceoffs, to how we present the puck, to hooking, to holding, to interference, and it doesn't matter what you're doing as an official in the game of hockey.

There has been video guidance given to everybody, a standard that's expected by fans, players, coaches and even officials on how the game is to be called. We never had video back then. When we came to training camp, we would read the rulebook. Now we see the rulebook and we see lots of plays, lots of situations, and we see them visually, so that's a big change from an officiating perspective. I also think it’s affected the way the game is called. There’s a lot more consistency right across the NHL.

When I came into the NHL a long time ago, we were looked at as a league that was an outlier compared to all other hockey leagues. Now I think the NHL is really a leader in (officiating), because no matter what we do in the NHL, every other professional league in the world and a lot of the amateur leagues are all trying to duplicate it almost immediately. Everything from all the faceoffs on the nine dots, to pucks deflecting off in the attacking zone and all staying inside, standard of enforcement, across a whole multitude of penalties. Everybody is looking at our situation handbook, everybody's looking at our rulebook, and everybody's looking at our best practices in terms of how we apply them and try to duplicate them. That, to me, is great for the game.

THN: With social media spawning mobs of fans scrutinizing replays every night, is officiating a tougher job than it used to be?

read on

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

It used to be, when you refereed the game, it was “your game.” You refereed the game. There was really no NHL standard on penalty calling and enforcement. Now in the game, there’s a standard on everything from how we set up at faceoffs, to how we present the puck, to hooking, to holding, to interference, and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing as an official in the game of hockey.

Boy that’s the truth.  Hadn’t thought about how this had changed, but it used to be before (playoff) games we would look at who the refs were and you’d kind of get a feel for how the games were going to be officiated.  I will say, the NHL is doing okay at this. 

Conversely, the last two weekends in the NFL, they changed up their officiating crews and assigned the best officials to officiate the games.  It led to refs working with each other who don’t usually work with each other, and really really changed the way some of these games were officiated - notably the amount of conversation that refs were having and how long it took to get calls sorted out.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/26/22 at 05:37 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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