“My Hands Were Shaking”: The Impact Abuse of Officials Has on Youth Referees

We have a lot of work to do!

By Lilly Bianchi


Picture this: a bitter Saturday morning draws families out of bed to get their little ones to the rink. They tie skates, sip coffee and chat as the kids take to the ice for a game. It happens every weekend in rinks all across America…so does the abuse of the officials toward those that work those games.

AHAI Referee-In-Chief Michael Barrett estimates about 175-200 reports are received annually regarding abuse of officials. There is no doubt such instances take a toll on officials, but what about when the official is only a teenager? As a 17 year old referee, I can tell you it happens all too often. Very rarely does one work a game where not a single negative comment is made. Perhaps the worst experience I had involved the anger of a coach. My hands were shaking, my voice trembling. The coach knew me, he…

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