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A President’s View on Officiating

By USA Hockey Officiating Program, 12/01/14, 5:45PM MST


Ever wonder what the view looks like from the president’s chair? Joe Baudo, president of the New York State Amateur Hockey Association and a longtime volunteer, recently shared his views on officiating from an administration perspective.

USA Hockey: So how do you interact with the officials in New York?
Joe Baudo: Well, first of all, I have a very good relationship with the referee-in-chief of New York, Mike Shapey. We’re in constant communication. If I ever have a question or an issue, I call him. The same goes for him. We’ll call each other. I think the communication factor is major between affiliate personnel and the referee group that oversees what’s going on. He has four New York section referee-in-chiefs. We have the same line of communication if there’s any questions, issues or concerns that come up. That’s the biggest thing: the communication factor. It makes things a lot easier and it keeps everybody up to date as far as what’s going on or providing info on seminars and clinics and all that.

USAH: Tell us about the officiating seminars.
Baudo: I do attend seminars. I stop in. The people that are there – they’re there because they love the game and because the seminars and clinics benefit them. In amazement, sometimes I ask, “Why do you want to do this and get yelled at while you’re out there doing it?” They love the game and so do I.

USAH: What kind of advice do you have for dealing with overly vocal coaches, parents and spectators?
Baudo: You learn to close your ears to a lot of that stuff. I used to be a baseball official a long time ago. My theory was always if the comment was “you” or “you’re” then they are in trouble. If they just say, “That’s a lousy call,” that’s fine. But if they say “you” or “you’re” and whatever terminology after that – which I won’t say here – then that’s trouble. Sometimes these people want to yell because they think they’re doing the right thing by yelling. You learn by trying to close out that stuff. The higher up you go in the game, the easier it gets. They don’t do as much of it. Some of the younger coaches think they’re going to get their way by yelling. It’s easier to do an NHL game than it is to do a peewee game.

USAH: What do you like to see on the ice from officials?
Baudo: I like to see consistency. I like to see that they’re consistent in what they do on the ice – and in most cases, they are. I also like to see the younger officials come along and develop. Eventually some of the guys are getting older here and they won’t be doing it much longer. So it’s the same as any other business we’re in. As you get older, you stop doing things.

USAH: How important is officiating development?
Baudo: Officiating development is just as important as player development. You don’t just become an official and you’re already a top-notch official as you start out. You start at the bottom like everybody else. That’s the biggest thing. I think a lot of coaches have to understand that the officials have to learn, too, just like the players. The officials have to get their feet wet and get involved. And we have to do as much as we can to keep officials around.

USAH: How is the new reporting system working?
Baudo: It’s working very well. My people are telling me it’s working very well. They are well aware of what’s going on and we can stay on top of any issues we may have with regards to game infractions. They’ve done a great job with it.

USAH: How do you know an official is doing a good job?
Baudo: If you don’t notice an official, they’re probably doing a good job. I don’t know any official who’s gone out there and said, “I’m going to call a bad game today because I don’t like this guy.” Really, they have no benefit by calling a bad game. It’s not that they’re going to benefit from who wins or loses. Officials go out there and try to call the best game they can, just like the players. 

USAH: Why do you volunteer?
Baudo: Why do I do it? I love the game. I’ve been involved with this for well over 30 years. I have no intention of getting out unless someone throws me out.