On-Ice Officials Course Success

The IIHA would like to thank all participants who attended the On-Ice Officials Course recently held in the Fairways Hotel and Dundalk Ice Dome.

The IIHA would also like to thank the Fairways Hotel staff and management, EIHA Referee-in-Chief Mr. Mohammed Ashraff, EIHA Olympic standard Referee Ms. Joy Toteman, all the EIHA Referee and Linesman instructors and the Dundalk Ice Dome management for subsidising the ice time.

Martin Grant filed the following report of the On-Ice Officials Course.

(Published in Dundalk Democrat)

A number of local ice hockey figures from different corners of the sport last weekend participated in the IIHA’s refereeing course held in both the Fairways Hotel and the Dundalk Ice Dome. The two day seminar was very professionally organised and conducted, and as this reporter was a participant, I can truly say that everyone took something new away from the course and valuable experience was gained. And all at no expense as the IIHA covered any fees for it’s members.

The course was headed by the English Ice Hockey Association’s (EIHA) Referee-in-Chief, Mohammed Ashraff, and his two instructors, Ken Riddell and Allan Batchelder. They trained both experienced and novice officials as members of the IIHA from all over including Dublin, Dundalk and Belfast were educated in the many rules of the fastest game on earth, ice hockey.

Speaking to The Dundalk Democrat this week, the IIHA Interim Referee-in-Chief gave his views on the seminar:

He said : ‘I thought the On-Ice Officials course went very well and I was very pleased with it over the weekend. I was hoping for a few more people to attend but what really pleased me is that the people who have gotten involved with officiating over the last couple of years, turned up and really wanted to learn something new. The experienced officials who have maybe attended a course like this before attended and wanted to learn. For me, that is really encouraging and it will make developing the officials a lot easier in the future. We also gained a couple new people to officiating so we are going places’.

Dean praised the course instructors for their work both on and off the ice. He said ‘The course itself was extremely well run by the EIHA’s Referee-in-Chief, Mohammed Ashraff, and his two instructors, Ken Riddell and Allan Batchelder. Everything that they did was very informative and explained thoroughly with the odd joke or two. That was just in the classroom while outside they were constantly giving myself and William Fay (President of the IIHA) advice and tips on how the EIHA has developed the sport in England and Wales. We can always improve on aspects of what happened with the course at the weekend but overall, the IIHA has taken quite a lot from the weekend and the experience the EIHA’s Referee-in-Chief and his two instructors.

Dean takes great pleasure in the feedback he has been getting over the last few days. He explained what people have been telling him. He said : ‘The overall feedback was that the course was very informative and everyone learned something new. Most people were very pleased with how the three guys presented everything as they are very likable and always try to keep things light-hearted. They also explained everything in much detail and used different techniques to get the explanations across. The one general criticism was that there aren’t enough of these courses on a regular basis and that is a fair comment. However, the plan is that we do have the likes of this course on a more regular basis so that we make it possible for more people to get involved in officiating. This is just the start and we really need to follow through and deliver more opportunities for more people to get involved in officiating and the other aspects of the sport’.

Kelly has a clear plan of what needs to be done to develop the sport as a while locally and nationally. He said ‘What’s next for the education of our officials is that we hold more of these courses to get more people involved in officiating and regular meetings for our current officials so that they can clarify anything which they are unsure of. Basically, we need to be involved in a long term and constant education process with all of our officials and in order for the sport to develop, we also need to engage with the teams and players and involve them in the process. As in, we need to be educating everyone on the rules of the game and how we are going to implement those rules. From the on ice officials to the coaches, players and spectators. It will be hard but it is achievable and we will reach new heights of officiating but it will take time’.

Two Dundalk Bulls ladies’ players, Sonya McEneaney and Lorna Hoey, were amongst the participants and both said that they ‘thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and learned so many new things about the game within just two days’ and they welcomed the improvement to the educating of officials. Once again another way forward for Ice Hockey in Ireland.

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