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Trento’s climb through the Eastern League reaches the top

04/18/2013, 1:45pm MDT
By Tom Robinson

Since drawing attention at the USA Hockey Festival in 2009, Dominic Trento has spent four seasons moving between four different Eastern Junior Hockey League teams. That climb reached a new peak this season when Trento helped the Jersey Hitmen become the Eastern League’s top team.
It took some time for Trento to fit in with his new team, but after sitting out an early-season game as a scratch, the Brockport, N.Y. resident changed positions and found his place. By the time the playoffs arrived, Trento was firmly established as the center on a line with team captain Jack Riley and Tim Clifton, both Division I recruits.
Jersey fell behind twice in the deciding game of the Dineen Cup Finals, but Trento scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead what turned into an 8-2 romp over the Islanders Hockey Club from Tyngsboro, Mass.
For his efforts, Trento was named Most Valuable Player of the Dineen Cup playoffs.
Trento said Hitmen coach Toby Harris made it clear what the player had to do to avoid a repeat of sitting out a game.
“Toby sat me down and let me know, ‘You’ve got to be more consistent, that’s the knock on you by college coaches,’” Trento said. “He really lit a fire under me.
“I wanted to prove I could be the go-to guy.”
It helped that Harris also found the right spot for Trento.
“At the beginning of the year, we had him at wing and weren’t really getting a lot out of him,” Harris said. “We had a couple of injuries and we moved him out to center.
“Once that move was made, he really took off.”
Trento completed a slow and steady climb through the ranks of the EJHL to become the league’s second-leading scorer.
Trento had been one of the New York District’s representatives at the Select Festival on the 14-, 15-, 16- and 17-year-old level in each of the past four summers. However, he moved around the Eastern League in the fall and winter.
Trento scored six goals for Rochester, nine for Apple Core and 14 for Green Mountain before joining Jersey, where he produced 18 goals and 49 assists in the regular season.
By playoff time, Trento was one of the keys to a team that rattled off 27 straight wins at one point this season.
“He left his mark on every game in the playoffs,” Harris said. “Then, in the championship game, he had two goals and two assists. He was all over the ice.”
When they scored the game’s last seven goals, including six in the third period, the Hitmen captured their third Eastern League playoff title.
“After that talk, I started working my way up from being a scratch to being on the top line,” Trento said. “I really have to give credit to my linemates. They helped me to where I ended up as the second-leading scorer.
“When I look back I can see Toby did what he did on purpose. He got the most out of me as a player. I have to thank him for that.”
Trento improved his prospect status along the way. He said he has four scholarship offers and might commit in the weeks, although he still plans to spend another year in junior hockey while also working on getting himself more prepared academically.
Trento’s playoff MVP honor was just one of the individual awards Hitmen players claimed at the end of season in which they won 39 of 45 regular-season games.
Brendan Bradley was named EJHL Offensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 78 points on 17 goals and 61 assists in the regular season. The University of Vermont recruit from Richboro, Pa. had 10 more points in eight playoff games.
Andrew Black was named regular-season MVP of the league. Black, a Colgate recruit from Buffalo, N.Y., shared the league lead with 30 goals and also had 36 assists in 44 regular-season games. He then had six goals and six assists in the playoffs.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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08/25/2015, 3:30pm MDT
By USA Hockey

No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official.  Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.

The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.

Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.

An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.

Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”

That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”

The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.

Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.

USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.

In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.

The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.

As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.

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