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Announcing the New Advanced Officiating Symposium: Q-and-A with Matt Leaf

By USA Hockey, 05/30/19, 9:15AM MDT


The 2019-20 season brings the start of USA Hockey’s tenured officials program, including the creation of the Advanced Officiating Symposium. The tenured officials program is designed to reward those officials who have been dedicated to USA Hockey for many seasons and have made the commitment to attend the Advanced Officiating Symposium. As a result of completing the symposium, tenured officials will have reduced registration requirements for as long as they continue to register with USA Hockey as an official.

Matt Leaf, director of officiating for USA Hockey, answered some questions about the new symposium, which will be held July 26-28, 2019, in Bloomington, Minn.

Q: What will be the format for the Advanced Officiating Symposium?

A: The presentations will be a variety of formats in a large conference room setting. Each dynamic presenter has been given wide latitude as to their style and approach to covering their topic. U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame linesman Kevin Collins will give the keynote address and several other officials/leaders from the NHL, NCAA and international scene will be presenting. There will also be some panel discussions mixed in with less formal Q-and-As.

Q: Will there be an ice session? How about a closed book exam?

A: No to both. There will not be an ice session as part of the Advanced Officiating Symposium. There is no need to bring any equipment. Tenured officials are also not required to complete a closed book exam, although the expectation is they are self-motivated to maintain rule knowledge as long as they continue to officiate.

Q: Will I need to rent a car in Minneapolis to get to the Symposium?

A: Most likely not. The hotel has airport shuttle service and is only 5-10 minutes from the airport. With all Symposium events taking place at the hotel, there really is no travel necessary once you have arrived. The hotel is also a short walk to the Mall of America where you can find many different restaurants and other amenities. Finally, light rail to both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul is available from the Mall of America as well as airport access.

Q: What will I need to bring to the Symposium?

A: An open mind, a positive attitude and the willingness to participate in a one-of-a-kind hockey officiating experience! Of course, it never hurts to pack your rule book.

Q: Who is eligible to attend?

A: Any official who has been completely registered at either Level 3 or Level 4 (or a combination of both) for the last three years. Whatever level you achieved during the 2018-19 season will be the tenured level granted. For example, if completely registered as a Level 3 official for the 2018-19 season, you are granted Level 3 tenured status. If you are Level 4 complete, you will obtain Level 4 tenured status.

Q: Do I have to be Level 4 for three years to be considered Level 4 tenured?

A: No, it will depend on what level you were complete at for the 2018-19 season. However, even if you are originally granted Level 3 tenured status, you will always be able to obtain Level 4 tenured status by simply completing ALL of the Level 4 registration requirements for one season. Once you have achieved Level 4, you will remain at Level 4 tenured for as long as you continue to register.

Q: Do I have to attend the entire Symposium?

A: Yes, participants are expected to attend the entire Advanced Officiating Symposium to obtain credit for attendance. Attendance will be monitored for each session.

Q: Once I attend the Symposium, how will I get my tenured status?

A: Officials who attend will be credited with their seminar attendance and closed book exam requirement for the 2019-20 season and will be provided access to tenured-specific online seminar curriculum after they attend the Advanced Officiating Symposium. Your membership card will then identify you as a tenured official once you have met all of the other necessary registration requirements (open book exam, SafeSport, etc.).

Q: What are the benefits of having tenured status?

A: Those officials who attain tenured status will have reduced registration requirements for as long as they continue to register with USA Hockey as an official. The reduced requirements include not having to attend a seminar, not completing a closed book exam and also completing a tenured specific abbreviated online seminar curriculum.

Q: When and where will the next Advanced Officiating Symposium take place?

A: The Advanced Officiating Symposium is an annual event that will rotate to different areas of the country each season. The 2020 version is planned for the East Coast (tentatively Providence) in late July with the 2021 version heading West. The hope is to be able to accommodate all of our officials within geographic regions with a reasonable travel location every 3-5 years.