USA Hockey is always aiming to make the game better for all. The Officiating Department is no different. That’s why adjustments are being made for upcoming registration processes. Our goal is to streamline things, and take membership’s time into consideration, all while incorporating feedback we’ve received over the years to update and upgrade the registration method.
So what changes are coming? And what can officials expect in 2018-19 registration and beyond? Dave LaBuda, USA Hockey’s national referee-in-chief explains.
USA Hockey: What is the reason for the upcoming registration program changes?
Dave LaBuda: There are two basic reasons for the proposed changes. We are always listening to our membership feedback to improve all of our programs. In this case, we want to make the most efficient use of our membership’s time during the registration process. We also want to maximize the educational benefits of the program. By continually improving the content quality of our online video modules and providing related supportive subject matter during our classroom sessions, we will only make our educational program more effective and meaningful.
USAH: How will these changes affect the overall registration process?
LaBuda: The proposed changes should, in most cases, reduce the time a member official will need to complete the entire registration process. We are proposing reducing the number of questions on the open-book rules exam at all levels. To offset the reduced number of questions on the open-book exam, we are proposing that there be level-specific open-book exam questions. By incorporating open-book, level-specific questions, we believe it will improve the educational quality of this part of the registration process.
USAH: When will these changes go into effect?
LaBuda: Once the proposed changes have been approved by the district referees-in-chief, they will be phased in over the next three years. It's going to take that timeframe to develop the administrative programs needed to implement and monitor all of the proposed changes. For example, for the 2018-19 season, we plan to implement the ability for certain Level 3 and 4 officials to be able to test out of certain video modules.
USAH: What does ‘tenured’ status mean?
LaBuda: Let me start by clarifying that this is a new status level, not a new registration level. Our current status levels are incomplete and complete. This status level will only be available at Levels 3 and 4. The purpose of the tenured status level is to recognize a member’s commitment to continuous registration as well as their pursuit of improving their officiating skills and moving up to higher registration levels. The proposed requirements to apply for this tenured status will require that Level 3 or 4 officials successfully complete at least one of those levels for a defined period of time. That timeframe will be established by the Officials Section at the 2018 USA Hockey Winter Meeting. Some of the potential proposed benefits of this status level will be a reduced online module requirement, reduced rules testing requirement, and the elimination of the requirement to attend a classroom seminar session at the start of each year once tenured status is achieved.
USAH: What is the National Symposium?
LaBuda: The National Symposium will be a weekend-type event (Friday through Sunday) that will cover a number of advanced topics in a seminar classroom type of environment. This event will be held once a year, and its location will be geographically rotated around the country each year. This will allow member officials to plan their application for tenured status in a year that this event will be closer to where they live to help to reduce travel and attendance costs.
USAH: Do you have any closing comments?
LaBuda: The proposed recommended changes have been thoroughly discussed and evaluated before being presented to the district referees-in-chief. The membership’s feedback, as well as the insights of our district referees-in-chief have been the motivating force behind these proposed changes. We believe that these proposed changes will be an improvement to our overall registration process and a benefit to our officiating membership. As more of the proposed changes are approved, we will keep our membership informed.
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