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Catching Up With Cahow

By Catherine Bogart - USAHockey.com, 10/10/14, 3:30PM MDT

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While representing Team USA and facing off against opposing nations for eight years, Caitlin Cahow perfected how to juggle many responsibilities under high-pressure situations. Taking this skill off the ice, she balanced her duties to the Women’s National Team with a demanding schedule at Boston College Law.

Although Cahow’s playing days are over, her schedule has not lightened up. During her third year at BC, Cahow returned to the international stage as a member of the President’s Delegation for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

“(Sochi) was a really transforming experience,” Cahow said. “It changed my life, it changed my perspective on a number of things. It was really a highlight certainly, I consider it still a part of my hockey career in many ways, so to me that was an amazing cap on a career.”

Since Sochi, Cahow returned to Boston where she continued her duties as a member of the Presidential Delegation while balancing five classes. She graduated from Boston College with her law degree in May, and moved to Chicago to further her career, working as an associate at Jones Day and clerking for a federal judge. Following her move to Chicago, Cahow joined the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition in September. As if those accomplishments were not enough, Cahow just received news that she had passed the bar exam in Illinois.

The transition from law school to the working world was seamless for Cahow because the demands of her job parallel her career as an athlete.

“Day to day there are going to be different obstacles, different challenges, different questions,” she said. “ And the whole point is you have to work together to come up with solutions.”

Due in large part to the skills she gained on and off the ice during her hockey career, Cahow has exceled in the real world. Whether it’s sporting a USA jersey, clerking for a federal judge, or serving on the President’s Council, Cahow loves to serve her country in any way she can.

She is participating in an International Ice Hockey Federation World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend event this weekend in the Chicago area. As a player who learned to play hockey at a young age, she understands the importance of these events in lending toward the continued growth of girls hockey in the United States.

“These clinics are crucial to opening people’s eyes up and inviting them in to share in the game that we all love so much.”

There are nearly 150 U.S. locations participating in the IIHF’s Girls Hockey Weekend, with a mission to expose girls to this rapidly growing sport. Cahow credits her time playing hockey to the development of social and educational opportunities that have led her to her success both on and off the ice. She is hopeful that others will have the chance to get involved in something that will inspire them to stay driven and reach their goals.

“I want to make sure that every single girl out there has the opportunity that I did growing up, because I would not be where I am today without hockey.”

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The Referee Section of USA Hockey recently met during Annual Congress and discussed a variety of issues that will have an impact in the success of the officiating program. Many of those issues relate back to the successful completion of the registration requirements and the retention of officials.

Streamlining the registration process and maximizing the efficiency of our educational platforms are always a priority and the following Q-and-A will highlight those changes that every official should be aware of heading into the new season.

USA Hockey: What is the biggest change made to the registration requirements for this season?

Matt Leaf: With more and more seminars transitioning to a virtual format, the Referees-in-Chief (RIC) have determined that there really is no need for the closed book exams. So, level 2, 3 and 4 officials this season will no longer be required to submit a closed book (or modified online closed book exam) upon completion of the seminar requirement. Instead, the open book exams have been expanded to 75 questions for level 2 and 100 questions each for level 3 and level 4.

The RICs acknowledged that the purpose of the exams has always been as a means to encourage rule knowledge, so more effort was made to put together open book exam questions that will encourage the officials to open the Rules/Casebook in an effort to not only learn the rule, but more importantly, understand the spirit and intent of the rule.

USAH: Are there any other changes to the exam process

ML: The only other change to the exams deal with those who do not pass the original exam. Level 2, 3 and 4 officials will now be able to complete their retake exam 24 hours after failing their original exam. Level 1 officials will still need to wait seven days as we want them to slow down and take some time reviewing the rules so they can gain a better understanding and improve their chances for success on the ice.

USAH: What changes, if any, have been made to the seminars? Are all officials still required to attend a seminar each season?

ML: Yes, except for Tenured Officials, all officials are required to attend a seminar for the level that they apply for each season. So, a Level 1 official must attend a Level 1 seminar, Level 2 attends a Level 2 and then Level 3 and 4 seminars will be combined as one seminar in many cases.

Level 1 officials are strongly encouraged to attend a seminar in their own area and most areas will mainly conduct in-person Level 1 seminars. Although there will be some hybrid Level 1 seminars with both a virtual and in-person component, the key here is that every Level 1 official is required to attend a Level 1 seminar ice session. This may require some additional coordination of scheduling for these new officials, but the reality is this on-ice practice is so critical to any future success they may have on the ice that the RICs feel it is critical that the ice session is part of their educational experience.

Level 2 seminars will also include an on-ice component that Level 2 officials need to be aware of when they plan their seminar attendance. The vast majority of Level 3 and Level 4 seminars will be virtual and officials are encouraged to attend a seminar at a date and time that is convenient for them.

USAH: Have there been any changes to the curriculum for the various levels?

ML: The curriculum for each level was standardized prior to last season and is something that will continue to be updated on an annual basis. The specific presentations, along with the video examples, have all been developed in a manner that provides valuable information specific to each level with new presentations and updated video examples being used to keep things fresh and relevant. In addition, the seminar curriculum has been coordinated with the online modules to minimize duplication and to diversify the required education for each level.

USAH: How about SafeSport and Screening – any changes to those requirements?

ML: The background screening process will remain the same as USA Hockey is required to conduct a national screen every two years on any official who is 18 years of age as of June 1 of the registration year (in this case 2022). Both the background screen and the SafeSport training are mandated by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) per the Amateur Sports Act initiated by Congress.

For SafeSport, any official who was born in 2005, or earlier, is required to complete SafeSport training on a yearly basis. This may include the full training or refresher training that is managed by the US Center for SafeSport. Although it will not have an impact on registration for this season, there was a change in SafeSport that has been made where the training will only be valid for a 12-month period of time and it not consistent with an overlapping season. This will be addressed during the summer of 2023.

USAH: Are there any other changes or areas of emphasis that you want officials to be aware of?

ML: A significant part of the discussions that took place with the RICs focused on the importance mentoring plays in the success and, ultimately, the retention of brand-new officials. USA Hockey loses 50% of our new officials every season and improving that retention rate by just 15% will result in 1,000 additional experienced officials joining our ranks each year. We need to do a better job of bringing new officials into the fold and then supporting them in ways that sets them up for a successful and rewarding experience. The RICs feel strongly the best way to positively impact this issue is through mentoring.

Experienced officials should expect to receive information later this summer that outlines expectations of a formal Mentor Program and asking them to volunteer their time and expertise to become involved as a mentor. Once we have established a pool of officials that are willing to contribute in this way to the next generation of officials, they will be assigned a group of new officials they can reach out to and guide them through the registration process, seminar attendance, assistance in completing the open book exam and reaching out to prospective assignors when the time has come they are ready to work games. Once they have stepped on the ice, that mentor can continue to be a valuable resource for the new official and provide the necessary support needed to be successful. We will also be encouraging local clubs, assignors and officials’ groups to implement Shadow Programs that will complement the Mentor Program and positively enhance the officials’ experience even more.

With everyone working together towards a common goal, USA Hockey can become a leader in addressing the officiating crisis while providing a positive experience to our next generation of officials.

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