Over the course of three days, more than 250 officials from 24 states heard from some of the most notable American whistleblowers in the game during the first-ever USA Hockey Advanced Officiating Symposium in Bloomington, Minn.
Here are a collection of quotes from the discussions and presentations throughout the weekend:
Official from Washington, D.C.
"I would tell any official that they definitely need to come here. It's well worth the investment. It's actually more than worth it. The experiences you share and the people that you meet and can network with is great. I met these NHL officials who were so cool. They respected us as peers, and that was huge."
Retired NHL linesman and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member
“Every day you don’t try to get better you lose the opportunity to be the best.”
“Abuse by coaches and parents is taking its toll on young and old officials alike. This is not a regional issue but a national one. I’m asking you to do your part to help save our game and the future of it. Take this message back to your local associations and convince your leagues to reach out to coaches and parents and to hold them accountable.”
Veteran NHL referee
"There's not one referee who's ever skated on the ice who has refereed a perfect hockey game. So, don't leave here thinking that you're going to work your next game and think that you're going to be perfect because it's not going to happen."
Retired NHL referee and president of the Spokane Americans Youth Hockey Association
"It's better to be slow and right than fast and wrong. Take a split second longer to get it right. There's no rule that says you have to make the call right away."
"Hope can be a dangerous thing and is no way to referee a hockey game."
NHL linesman who has worked more than 2,000 regular-season games and another 300 playoff games over 31 NHL seasons
"Probably the biggest thing that's worked for me is humility. I have the ability to admit I've made a mistake. I can't tell you how well that works for me."
"I have a routine where I stand at center ice for the national anthem and I look at the flag and count the stars and relate each one of them to someone who has helped me along the way."
"You need to differentiate between whether they're [coaches] yelling at the sweater or they're yelling at the person wearing it."
Director of Officiating, National Collegiate Hockey Conference
"Don't be afraid to smile. You just might get one back."
USA Hockey National Coach-in-Chief
"It goes both ways. Coaches expect referees to work hard and be professional, just as officials expect coaches to treat them with respect."
Two-time U.S. Olympian and ADM regional manager
"We're all out there trying to do the best we can do. And at the end of the game, it's about shaking hands and buying each other a cold beverage, because no one is bigger than the game."
Official from Mile City, Mont.
"Hearing from some of the top officials in the game and knowing that they have the same struggles and same successes that we all do was really refreshing and energizing to hear. We all share in this together."
Long-time NHL linesman
"It can be a really, really serious job — it's a money-driven business at the NHL level. But I can guarantee you that everyone in the game is having a blast doing it. If you're not having fun you shouldn't even step out on the ice."
Official from East Lansing, Mich.
"Any opportunity that USA Hockey offers is something we need to take advantage of, especially Level 3 or Level 4 officials. We're role models in our organizations for younger officials, so any chance you have to learn is something you should take advantage of."
Official from Branford, Conn.
"We've learned a lot of great things this weekend, things that are applicable to the guys working in the NHL as well as those working youth games. One thing that I learned was the importance of sticking to your calls and having the confidence in believing what you see."
Referee-in-Chief of Ice Hockey United Kingdom and a three-time Olympic referee
"Everyone in England likes fish and chips. We eat them all the time. And yes, we all know the Queen. And we call her Liz."