Ireland in Vierumaki – The Game Officials

(The IIHA’s Sonya McEneaney attended the Game Officials Camp during the 2012 IIHF Hockey Development Camp and has provided us with a detailed blog of her activities during the week.)

Sun 15th July- The Irish crew arrived safe and sound to Vierumäki on Sunday morning at 11am. On arrival we dropped our gear off at the rink first and then headed into the auditorium to register collect our IDs and room keys. I met a linesman from Poland who happened to be my roommate so off we went to our lakeside cabin! Soon after, the rest of our roommates arrived and we sat and got to know each other. There were officials from Slovenia, Sweden, Norway and Germany. In the evening we had to attend the opening ceremony and also got a tour of the facilities. It was a long day for everybody and we were due on the ice at 7am the next morning so it was time for bed!

Mon 16th- Ice practice was from 7-8am. We spent most of the practice working on our positioning and some skating. It was a very busy day as there was a lot of classroom sessions and an off-ice session also. The classroom sessions consisted of linesman positioning, procedures and face off locations. For our off-ice and ice sessions we have NHL referee coach Dave Smith, who we are very lucky to have this was going to be an exciting but tough week.

Tues 17th- We had a lie in today! Breakfast was at 8am followed by a 9am classroom session and then ice practice which was joint with the referees. We worked on skating techniques and positions. Throughout the day we had more classrooms and watched a video about the 4-man system. The IIHF may bring this into the women’s game in the future. After lunch we had more classes about linesman procedures and off-ice training. Some of the girls had games that evening so in our off-ice training we were shown how to warm up before a game.

Wed 18th- We were on the ice for 7am followed by breakfast and classroom sessions right up to lunch. In the classroom sessions we learned how to measure a stick, fill in game reports and how to develop awareness. In the afternoon we had off-ice training and more classrooms. Again there were games on in the evening which were useful for me to watch and observe other officials on the ice.

Thurs 19th- We had an early morning again today but we didn’t mind as we knew we had an easy day ahead of us, a trip to Helsinki. The ice practice consisted of more skating skills and power skating techniques. Following breakfast we had a talk from Konstantin Komissarov about the opportunities for IIHF tournaments. We had some spare time to get ready for Helsinki and time to squeeze in a sauna! The weather was beautiful in Helsinki until the sky opened up and we got soaked (felt like I was at home for a few minutes!). Hockey memorabilia and presents were bought, photographs were taken and then it was time to head back. A fun day was had by all minus the rain!

Friday 20th- 7am start again for the puck drop and pylon tests and a practice session for our ice ball tournament on Saturday morning. Classroom sessions followed the ice and we spoke about communication on and off the ice. After these classes we had a small break then had a nutrition class with Dave Smith and then we were split into 3 groups for a workshop on the qualities of an official.
In the afternoon we had off-ice again, this time it was outside on the playing field in the sunshine, again we had a great workout and got some good tips from Dave.

Sat 21st- Ice ball tournament was at 7am, again great fun was had by all. We then had breakfast followed by classes preparing us for the unexpected on the ice such as fights etc. We also had another seminar with Dave about physical conditioning.

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