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Morgan, Mingus lead West Sound to the top

12/05/2013, 4:45pm MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Jimmy Morgan has been piling up goals.

Peter Mingus has been filling up the assist column.

Together, the West Sound line mates have climbed to the top of the Northern Pacific Hockey League scoring race and lifted the Warriors to first place in the standings.

“We had some good chemistry right off the bat,” said Morgan, the NPHL goals leader with 24 in 17 games, including a hat trick in the team’s most recent game, his third straight four-point effort in a 7-4 win over the second-place Bellingham Blaze. “We’re similar players.”

The stat sheet currently says differently, giving the impression of two distinctly different styles. While Morgan has the goals, Mingus has 41 assists among this league-leading 50 points.

Both players and head coach/general manager Jay Miller expect those numbers to even out as the season goes on.

“He’s just moving it to me and I have the hot stick right now,” Morgan said. “He’s kind of had a bum wrist and hand.”

Mingus has assists in all 17 games he has played and multiple assists in 13 games.

“Pete’s been playing kind of hurt,” Miller said. “He has an injury that’s really affected his shot, so he’s been kind of relegated to that playmaker status.

“Both should have equal goals and assists based on the styles that they both play, but Pete has taken on that playmaker role a little bit more than he would. He has the ability to score a ton more goals. I’m going to chalk it up to that injury, so hopefully that changes here in the next couple of weeks.”

Mingus, a 20-year-old from Eugene, Ore., returned to the United States last season after playing in Canada. He joined the Bremerton, Wash.-based Warriors during the season and immediately became one of the leaders on a second-year franchise that went from missing the playoffs in 2011-12 to winning the regular-season title in 2012-13.

“I found that the team needed some leadership and some direction to where the team needed to be,” said Mingus, who is now the oldest player on the roster. “We had a pretty good team skill-wise. I just felt like the guys really weren’t meshing together.

“Basically, I wanted to bring whatever I could with as much effort as possible and that helped me to get more ice time. I just fit in by working hard and showing the team I’m here to play as hard as I can.”

Mingus showed his goal-scoring ability with 11, along with 13 assists, in 15 regular-season games. He added five goals and five assists in eight playoff games, serving as the top postseason scorer before the season ended in disappointment with a championship series loss to Bellingham.

Morgan joined on this season. The Highlands Ranch, Colo. resident had been playing in the Littleton Hawks program. Miller said Morgan, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, has the possibility of moving up a higher league soon.

“I’m happy with my choice,” said Morgan, who in addition to his goals is tied for third in the NPHL with 22 assists for second place overall with 46 points. “We’re just kind of trying to keep it going right now.”

With Mingus and Morgan leading the way, the Warriors are 16-1-0-1 for a one-point advantage over the Blaze (16-5-0-0) with three games in hand. Although Bellingham is responsible for both West Sound losses, the Warriors have a 4-2 lead in the season series with the latest victory.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN OFFICIATING

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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