Hi! As the title says, I'm a female hockey referee. I am 21 years old and I've been officiating hockey for nearly ten years. In the women's game I regularly work in the college/university leagues and the CWHL, the women's professional hockey league in Canada. I have also officiated for the Canadian Women's Olympic Team during their cross-Canada playoffs.

I also work men's hockey, which is substantially harder to move up in, especially as a female. The highest level of men's hockey I regularly work is Major Midget hockey, which is an elite provincial league for 15-17 year old players. I've also attended international tournaments in Canada for men's hockey at the Bantam (13-14 year old) and Midget level.

I work all levels right down to novice/mites/tykes, especially in my hometown. On average I skate 3-4 games a week and otherwise I'm a full time student.

My proof is here: https://imgur.com/a/acEkl I can submit further proof to the moderators such as photos of me on the ice or footage of games I've worked, but as team's logos/names are easy to google and give away my location with, I'd rather not share it publicly!

Comments: 132 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

fork_that67 karma

It's got to be asked, Do you know what Goaltender interference is? And can you explain it to us please?


frozennie86 karma

My understanding is this: goaltender interference is when a player of the attacking team deliberately interferes with the goaltender's ability to make the save, OR if the attacking player makes no attempt to stop themselves from making contact with the goalie after being hit/pushed. So if the defending player hits the attacking player into their goalie, the attacking player has to at least make a visible attempt to TRY and not hit the goalie.

That being said, I have NO fucking idea what the NHL review is doing with the goaltender interference at times. I can't predict is any better than you could! Remember that the NHL is a game, but it's also an entertainment industry - they want the games to be exciting and get people talking.

War_Messiah19 karma

This doesn’t fill me with hope

frozennie23 karma

Me neither, friend. The NHL need to revamp how the do goaltender interference for sure.

Hotwir34 karma

I like your answer, I just want to remove one word

goaltender interference is when a player of the attacking team deliberately interferes with the goaltender's ability to make the save

Penalties should be called regardless of intent, especially since your second clause considers contact by the other team.

frozennie5 karma

You're right. What I was trying to get at was if there was an attempt to avoid hitting the goalie, it shouldn't be called. Hockey is fast and sometimes you find yourself careening toward the goalie (like if they jump out in front of you or you make a blind turn) and in these situations you should make every effort to avoid hitting the goalie, and if you do and the impact reasonably wasn't entirely your fault, it shouldn't be called.

Hotwir32 karma

Is this a case of "no goal but also not a penalty"?

frozennie5 karma

Hard to say without seeing the play - possibly, but not always. For example, if the defending team pushed the attacking player onto the goalie, and the attacking player tried to avoid hitting the goalie but couldn't and a goal was scored, the goal would be good because it was the defending player's fault that the contact with the goalie occurred.

bulk_barn35 karma

Does your job stop you from enjoying watching hockey? Do you try and ref the game in your head or just let it go?

frozennie52 karma

Kind of both, actually - I still love watching hockey, but I mostly watch the officials when I watch. Watching hockey with my fellow officials is best because we all do that, whereas if I watch with someone who isn't an official they get annoyed with me trying to discuss every call made and let go.

Deanpool91829 karma

How did you feel when the American women took gold in the Olympics? Do you think the final match was officiated well?

frozennie72 karma

I was a bit disappointed, but not surprised. The American women are much, much faster than the Canadians and its especially evident on the Olympic sized ice and the Americans have been winning the world series against Canada for the past few years. I thought the officiating for that game was average. Nearly all of the penalties Canada got were deserved and showed a lack of discipline, and there was maybe only one I saw that was let go against the Americans. Anyone blaming the loss on the officials hasn't been paying attention to how the Americans have been steadily getting better and better over the years.

doctor_76 karma

First off thanks for this AMA!

Pretty fair comment. From Canada here so a bit biased for sure but USA outplayed Canada in qualifying and the final (if it wasn't for the stellar goal tending Canada would've been blown out both games).

I thought they started the gamw calling super soft shit that were penalties but just barely that is normally "let go" at that level of play. Canada, being younger undisciplined and slower on the whole, received way more of these.

Then there was a shift where the refs started to let a lot of shit go. The worst was when Poulin bodychecked Decker(? I think) in front of Canada's net. It seemed to me like the primary point of contact was the head with Poulin's elbow. Again, I'm Canadian but I thought she should've been tossed and suspended because man that was a real dirty hit.

frozennie9 karma

I remember that hit! I was thinking that if I was calling that, I probably would have assessed a double minor penalty for head contact. That's a bit more severe than the standard minor for body checking, but I didn't think it was aggressive enough to warrant being tossed. That's just my opinion though and it was definitely a dirty hit.

killkrazy26 karma

Is there still as much chirping in women's hockey as much as men's hockey?

frozennie55 karma

Nah, not really. Although women's hockey can generally get heated, it usually doesn't get anywhere near as intense as men's hockey does. If it's a particularly rough or high stakes game the women might call each other bitches, but in a men's game it's pretty much a given that somebody's gonna say they fucked somebody else's mom or something of that nature. In general women's games are a lot "tamer" than men's. There are still are intense women's games with lots of chirps, they're just few and far between.

Piass15 karma

do you have any leeway to call penalties on chirps that go over the line?

frozennie31 karma

Oh, absolutely. Generally, though, chirps are let go unless they cross a sexism/racism/homophobic/etc. line, they are one sided (one player is chirping and the other player isn't engaging at all), or they're aimed at the officials. It's more or less part of the game and if we called every chirp it'd take forever to finish the game.

WrongTurnforLife16 karma

I've got so many questions for you.... What do you study? Do you see yourself working as a full-time referee in the future? What was your most memorable game that you participated in? What was the funniest or most embarrassing moment as a referee? How could we make ice hockey more attractive to girls?

Thanks for answering any of these 😊

frozennie23 karma

Hi! I study environmental science in school, which has absolutely nothing to do with refereeing, I just like it! I'm graduating in a year and hoping to do a Master's degree next.

For women there is basically 0 opportunities to work full time as a referee. I already work the women's professional leagues and they pay about 60-100$ per game and there's about 30 games per team per season, so even if somehow I worked every single game I wouldn't be able to live off that. The other option is to pursue a career in men's hockey, which is incredibly difficult for a woman to do. As I said, I work the Major Midget men's league, which is already difficult for women to get into. For context, that league in my area has ten teams and about 350 games all season. Each game requires 3 officials, so there are about 1050 spots open in those games all year. There are three women who work that league in my zone and we each do 1-2 games per month, so say on average about 8 a season each, or 24 of the spots, or about 2% of all of them. In leagues higher than that, female officials basically drop to nothing. It's not impossible to get higher (and I'm part of a small wave of young female officials who are trying to break this hockey "glass ceiling") but its an upwards battle and I don't think within my career there will be any women working full time in any professional or semi-professional men's hockey leagues, but hopefully someday!

I've participated in a lot of memorable games! I would say the most memorable was the provincial gold medal Bantam game I did at the end of last season - it was the first time in many, many years that my town's elite team had been in the gold medal game, and the entire rink was packed to capacity, which is about 2000 people. The energy in the arena was insane and I had the opportunity to work with two of my best friends. Overall that was a great experience and I was honoured to be a part of it.

I've also had a lot of embarrassing moments... I'm nicknamed Bambi Legs because I'm tall and gangly and I fall down a lot. Once I lost my footing and fell in a way that I slid directly into the net and the goalie of a team and he fell on top of me. Oops.

Female enrollment in ice hockey is on the rise, which is awesome! Continuing to have the Olympic team travel around Canada is great for exposure, and just continuing to grow the women's game at the top level and working more to get it out there in the public eye (broadcasting the pro women's games, for example) is a great way to introduce little girls to hockey in my opinion. If they never see grown up women playing the game at the top level, they can't imagine themselves doing it!

Thanks for the questions!

bthompson0410 karma

I fall down a lot

Then you must have to buy your fellow officials a lot of beer ;)

frozennie9 karma

Hahaha you're right, I'm usually buying the beer post game!

Zomg_A_Chicken13 karma

Do you put pineapple on your pizza?

frozennie29 karma

No! Gross!

Mattyman0111 karma

You're invited to watch any hockey game at my house with this response

frozennie13 karma

Us proper pizza eaters have to stick together!

dingeerrr12 karma

How did you get started with officiating? Also, what advice would you have for newer officials who want to move up?

frozennie21 karma

When I was 12 I liked to go shopping at the mall with my friends, and being a referee was the only job a 12 year old could have. My mom was sick and tired of me asking for money so she enrolled me in the clinic and the rest is history.

As for moving up, my biggest advice is: stay humble! Officiating is subjective and there isn't one perfect official out there, including yourself. Remember that you can learn from everybody and anybody, so if someone is offering their advice or opinion, listen carefully. I'm not saying they're right or you should automatically do what they say, but always consider what they have to say. Some of the best tips I've gotten have come in the form of off hand comments from people who I considered my peers or juniors. If you want to move up, try and be actively involved in your officiating community - make friends with your peers, ask to be supervised, go to more senior official's games and see how they work. Make sure your association knows who you are and knows the work you're putting in.

And have fun! At the end of the day I love my job and every time I skate onto the ice I'm having a blast.

RuminantBearer11 karma

How did you put yourself at a successful position at such a young age?

frozennie24 karma

Not to be cliche, but a lot of hard work and a lot of luck. I never intended to be an elite referee - I actually quit when I was fifteen for a year before coming back because I hated it less than I hated working retail or fast food. Until I was seventeen, I skated around on the weekend for a couple bucks and it ended there.

I happened to take my yearly clinic outside my zone the year I turned eighteen because I was late registering, and during the on-ice portion the instructor liked my hustle and pulled me aside. I'm from a rural community, and he said that there was a program in the city near us that's always looking for dedicated young officials to come referee elite hockey in the city and he thought I fit the bill. I really didn't at the time - I was skating around trying to show up the younger kids at the clinic, honestly. However I was interested in the opportunity to go to the city and try my hand at elite hockey, so I agreed.

From that point on I worked my ass off - I had about a month before someone would be able to come from the city to watch me, so I took as many games as I could and begged my older referee friends to come watch me and give me advice. The supervisor liked what she saw and I was invited to the city to work some lower-level elite games. That was a huge step for me, and I continued to skate as many games as I could and ask my seniors for help to get better, and I hit the ground running once I started skating in the city.

In the past two and a half years I've gone from entering the program to being right at the top with the best female officials in my zone (which includes the city I began officiating in and the entire surrounding area) and that was mostly through watching what the people above me did and copying them. I went to games of my new friends in the senior program and watched what they did. I kept a notebook in my bag of all the tips and advice I've been given and I review it before each game to choose one thing to improve upon for that game. Once your name gets out there, especially as a girl (because you stand out more), things start snowballing and you start getting invited to different events and tournaments, and then other people see you there and invite you to their events and tournaments, and so forth and so on...

Basically, I would say that I am continually reaching for small goals that are within reach. First I wanted to get in the program - then I wanted to skate the mid tier hockey in the program - then I wanted to be ranked in the top half of officials at the end of the season, etc. By setting small, achievable goals and working towards them I've climbed a lot of the ladder very quickly. I've also been lucky enough to be seen by the right people at the right time and to have been invited to the right tournaments and events. As a senior official now I also work to give back to my hometown by mentoring first and second year officials, which helps keep me grounded in the basics of the game!

Edit: I would also like to add that I'm nowhere near the top of my craft/an expert by any means! There are many, many officials, both female and male, that are light years more experienced and talented than I am. I am just a short way into my journey as an official and I'm always eager for new opportunities and experiences to help me grow as an official and a person.

RuminantBearer5 karma

I like your approach, just from reading your response you are driven yet humble. You hated working in retail? lmao tell me about it, it's soul crushing work.

frozennie8 karma

Thank you very much! Yeah, reffing can be soul crushing at times, but at least I can skate away if I need to. In retail I just had to stand there and let my soul be crushed with a smile on my face.

RuminantBearer2 karma

lmao I just had my first 9 hours and I collapsed on my couch exhausted, how did you deal with toxic customers?

frozennie1 karma

Mostly I just vented about them later. Obviously I dealt with them pretty poorly since I couldn't handle it anymore and had to leave the industry, haha. Best of luck to you!

RayzRyd8 karma

Does anyone ever transition to or from figure skating? I feel like there was a movie at some point

frozennie14 karma

Not any officials that I know of! I played hockey with a girl who was also a competitive figure skater when I was much younger (like 9-10) but since then I personally haven't met any competitive female players that figure skated past the age of 5-6.

NickWN7 karma

What are your thoughts on contact in the women's game? The nature of hockey is fast and sometimes contact is unavoidable. I know a few women who play professionally and they told me that they would prefer it be full contact. Do you think that contact in professional women's hockey should be legal or continue to be illegal?

frozennie5 karma

This is hard to answer, truthfully! If you watch high level women's games that aren't at the Olympics, there is usually a LOT of contact between players, especially along the boards. Most of the players and the referees love to see a physical women's game and stretch the rules to allow it. Whether this means I'd like to see the game taken to the next step and allowed full bodychecking, I'm not sure. I think it'd be something that would need to be trialed out before we can see how it would really affect the game. As it is right now, the women's game is played with different strategy because of the lack of hitting and some people do appreciate that difference between the men and the women's game. I think that there's a lot of pros and cons to both sides of the argument.

NickWN2 karma

Interesting. Some of the players I talked to actually mentioned that the non-contact rules are dangerous because so many players will turn their backs on the play thinking they won't be hit, but because of the speed and nature of the game, sometimes it's unavoidable. Anyways, thanks for the thoughtful answer! It's something I wonder all the time when watching women's hockey.

frozennie5 karma

While that's probably true (you're more likely to get hurt if you get hit in non-contact hockey), just because hitting hockey has so many MORE hits, the overall number of big/potentially dangerous hits is higher. It's one of those debates where there is lots of arguments on either side and lots of emotions involved, which makes it hard to have a frank discussion about it in a lot of minor hockey leagues, because a lot of people simply feel that without hitting the game isn't truly hockey. It's definitely a complicated issue!

bthompson046 karma

When you work in the three-official system, are you doing both lining and wearing the bands?

I only ask because I think the path to a female official working in higher level men's professional leagues is as a referee, just based on responsibilities. Ice awareness and edgework/positioning are not exclusive to males and I have worked with many female officials that are very accomplished referees. On the flip side, lining is a bit trickier since you generally want bigger, stronger individuals, as they're responsible for breaking up altercations.

frozennie11 karma

That's a very fair observation! I personally do both, as do lots of other girls I work with. Guys tend to specialize in one or the other as they work higher and higher men's levels but most of the girls I know try to do both to keep their options as open as possible.

You're very right about refereeing - this is the path I'm trying to use to work up into male hockey, because I feel as though there's less obvious barriers to moving up as a female referee versus as a linesman. That's not to say it's not without it's challenges, though, because the referee is in charge of EVERYTHING on the ice, and there's still a lot of sexism in hockey. Male coaches and their male teams don't often like being told what to do by a young woman. Just this year I had a parent-fueled complaint about me officiating a boy's hockey game, saying they didn't think I was mature or confident enough as a woman to handle it.

As a linesman, it's definitely become harder and harder for me to move up to higher levels as the boys get older. I'm 5'9" and 150lbs, so I'm not tiny and my size has not come up as an issue as I try to advance yet. However, I do think that eventually it will become an issue and stop me from moving up, but I intend to keep working up until that happens.

L81ics5 karma

What's your favorite Jersey of all time?

frozennie13 karma

This season I really like the Florida Panther's jerseys. The design is clean, the colours are simple, and the panther on the logo is cute.

FuckYeahGeology4 karma

I'm a bit late to the AMA, but thanks for taking the time to do this!

  1. What's the most memorable game you have officiated?

  2. What game have you watched where the officiating stuck out to you (good or bad)?

frozennie5 karma

Hi! I answered my most memorable game already somewhere, but it was last year when I had the opportunity to officiate my hometown's provincial gold game. It had been many, many years since we had the opportunity to play for gold at a provincial level and the entire rink was packed to capacity, which was about 2000 people, so the energy was insane in the arena for that game. It was definitely one of the coolest things I've gotten to be a part of.

As for your second question, I can't really think of a good answer! If you're officiating a good game, you shouldn't stand out. I can think of examples of minor hockey games I've been a part of or watched where the ref really pooched some calls, but no big-profile games where similar things have happened. Generally at that level they're good enough to hopefully not stand out!

FuckYeahGeology2 karma

Wow, thanks for answering! Best of luck in the future!

frozennie2 karma

Thank you!

Morderator944 karma

Do you have favorited team or favorited NHL-team?

Also have you ever officiated a game where there was fight like in men's hockey? If there even are such confrontations in women's hockey.

frozennie11 karma

Mostly I root for all the Canadian teams, and the Golden Knights this year because they're so exciting to watch!

I have officiated in games where there was fights, but they were all men's games. In women's games I've never had anything more than pushing and calling each other bitches. HOWEVER, one of my friends did have a line brawl in women's midget hockey once. I didn't see it but over six girls were kicked out and it was apparently the craziest thing she's ever seen in women's hockey.

cantthinkuse3 karma

Do the leagues provide you with your jerseys? do you have to buy your own? Which jerseys are the most comfortable?

frozennie5 karma

Nope, we have to buy everything ourselves. Generally each official has one linesman and one referee jersey (you can see the difference in my proof picture) and then you have to buy the crests to put on them, as well. I wear my provincial crest for almost all the hockey I work, but when I work university/professional hockey I swap out the crest for those league's crest (they're attached with Velcro). All the levels I work are the same style of jersey and the only difference is the crest. The most comfortable jersey depends on what brand you prefer. Personally I like CCM but Force and SP are very popular with other officials.

cantthinkuse2 karma

are they expensive?

it looks like hockey refs are wearing slacks. are they made out of the same material as jerseys? do they have pockets?

thanks for answering my questions :)

frozennie3 karma

They can be! I'm looking to get a new linesman jersey at the end of this season and I'm expecting to pat about $120CAD. The pants refs wear are made for reffing, they're generally made out of tough material that is hard to tear but flexible and breathable. They do have pockets! Good refs will carry extra whistles, a notepad, and pen in their pockets at a minimum.

403and7803 karma

What are your thoughts on the CWHL and NWHL merging, or having an annual Clarkson vs Isobel game for a third cup?

What do you think the two major women's leagues need to do to attract more attention and get things like national tv deals and better salaries for players and officials?

frozennie3 karma

I'd LOVE that! Anything to expand the women's game would be a great step forward, in my opinion. I think advertisement and game broadcast would be a great step to getting more attention. Most people don't even know there's a professional women's league in Canada. Even playing outside their home rinks and going to smaller communities to play their league games to generate excitement about the league would help, though I'm not sure how feasible this is.

Jag942 karma

I say it all the time... I think the professional Womens leagues should be in the spring/summer. This way they are not competing with the NHL/AHL/juniors, and gives hockey fans something to watch during the summer.

frozennie2 karma

That's definitely an interesting idea! I never considered that but it could work!

Mattyman013 karma

What was your...

  1. Scariest moment while refereeing?
  2. Most wholesome moment while refereeing?

frozennie5 karma

Scariest moment was when I was fourteen. I'd only been reffing about two years and I was put into a game that was a little over my head. Everyone was yelling and screaming at me and I didn't know how to handle it yet at that point because I was so young and inexperienced. During a stoppage of play the coach of one of the teams started screaming that I was the biggest retard he'd ever seen and I should be ashamed to call myself a referee. I started crying on the ice. I just stood there and cried while he yelled at me. It was definitely the worst point in my entire career.

There are lots of wholesome moments, though, thankfully! I would say the best moment recently was a particularly heated college game at the women's level. There was a great save by a goalie in overtime and a tight play at the net after the whistle was blown. The defending players started pushing and shoving and yelling at the attacking players and one of the attacking players let all the defending players hit and swear at her, just so she could get to the goalie and tell her that was an amazing save. It was a small moment but it was such a genuine moment that I still remember it.

nowlan193 karma

Where the hell was your partner on that first one? Or were you banding it in 3man?

I'm pissed as a ref just reading that story. I've shown people the door for much less. The job is 100% easier when your partners have your back.

Quasi-related anecdote: I was lining a heated high school game once, and after a play that Team A wasn't happy about I was in front of their bench for the next drop. As I'm about to release the line to my partner, I feel cold water running down the back of my leg. A brief moment of "oh no you didn't" and play transitioned so I was off to the other blue line. A few minutes later while returning the puck on an icing, I made the briefest of mentions of what happened to the low official while exiting the zone. He also had a brief moment of "oh no you didn't" before immediately proceeding to the top of the referee's crease and assessing a bench minor.

He isn't even a guy that I skate with terribly often, but his lack of hesitation in that moment guaranteed that he'll have my respect forever.

frozennie3 karma

We were doing a 2-man system and he was just as young and inexperienced as I was, unfortunately. It was a shitty thing for us both.

The game is definitely way better when the officials all support each other, which thankfully is the case now where I'm working!

salacioussalamanders3 karma

Sorry I’m so late to this (hope I’m not too late?) but. Any fun stories about crazy parents? I did ( field hockey) refereeing in high school and holy shit, sports parents are absolutely insane no matter how young/old their kid is.

frozennie3 karma

Lots of crazy parents! One of my most prominent experiences was when two parents in the stands started fighting each other - I think one parent's kid had hit the other, they started yelling, and it escalated from there. Completely crazy.

NorthernDen3 karma

What warm ups do you do prior to game time? As we see the players get ready, do the refs have rituals/prep they do as well?

frozennie8 karma

Yes we do! There are a few officials who warm up similar to players - headpones in, running laps alone, stretching. Most of our warmups though are as a team and we usually play games of catch/dodgeball somewhere in the arena to warm up. We're on the ice the whole game so we don't want to waste too much energy, and teamwork is the most essential part of officiating, so our warmups generally focus on that.

ThatsSoSvech3 karma

Other than rules about bodychecking, what's the biggest adjustment in reffing between the men's leagues and the women's leagues you work? (Or if that doesn't make sense as a question, what is the biggest adjustment in officiating between different leagues/levels?)

frozennie14 karma

Generally the intensity is the biggest difference. Male competitive teams are far, far more intense than female competitive teams. They both want to win, but I find that male teams get more emotional about it, if that makes sense? In a women's game, once the whistle blows, generally they stop what they're doing and skate away and nothing happens. In men's games, though, blowing the whistle doesn't mean anything, and if someone is insulting them or pissing them off they're going to start a scrum/fight/whatever, and there's a lot more shit talking to initiate those kinds of things. In a men's game you definitely have to be a lot more aware of the mood and which players are pissing each other off and get between them before anything can happen. In a women's game, usually you can be a bit more relaxed about those things and skate around having pleasant chats with players between whistles :)

Jaxonian3 karma

Do you ever catch yourself being influenced by the crowd or any favoritism for a team or even a player if you are familiar with them? I always see the refs talking with players before games and smiling/joking around.. and recently in a game I was watching the audio caught the ref saying one of the players made a great pass (right after the pass and before any stoppage!). Seems like it would be hard to be completely unbiased.

As a follow up! If you do think you get a call wrong.. are you more inclined to give one the other way to even it out?

Thanks for doing he AMA!

frozennie6 karma

Lots of refs talk to the players like that, including myself! Refs are always talking to players and joking around, because it humanizes us to the players and makes us approachable if they have issues. Compliments go both ways - as officials, we're huge fans of the games, so we just like to see great plays and we let the players know. Favouritism isn't much of an issue because most refs don't care at all who wins in the game they're reffing - it doesn't matter to me at all who wins the local minor hockey game on an any given weekend. I just like to see a good game.

Being influenced by the crowd is more of an issue for younger refs. It's difficult to make the right calls if you know you're going to be heckled by the entire crowd for doing it. Overcoming this comes with maturity and experience. I hardly notice crowds anymore.

Sometimes we try and even it out, even though this is generally discouraged! If you know you missed a trip (or another non-dangerous penalty) sometimes refs will let a similar infraction go the other way to even it out. Generally we don't do this with dangerous calls like bodychecks or head shots, though, in the interest of player safety. If a coach asks why we called that play against their team but not the other team we just have to own it and say we made a mistake and missed it.

Jaxonian2 karma

You're probably gone by now.. so thanks for the AMA, I love the insight into your world but in case you're still here, your answers peaked another interest from me..

Are there specific rules you don't agree with / don't like to call that you are more relaxed about calling? Also.. do you take the differences between players into account when deciding whats a penalty / do you maybe put away the whistle when something is deserved? For example.. Clayton Keller (5'10" 170lb) pushed Brenden Dillon (6'4" 225lb) from behind in the middle of the ice after Dillon hit him and then played a bit of keep away with his stick and kinda being a dick. video starts at 37 seconds in. Sharks announcers seemed to think it was a huge penalty that got missed. I see it more as a little on ice justice for Dillon pretty intentionally taking the stick away and not a good penalty to call. Curious from a ref's point of view.

frozennie3 karma

I'm still here! I'm in school so I'm off and on my laptop all day. Generally the only think that I (and my peers) are more relaxed about is body checking in women's hockey - generally we let rub outs along the boards go as long as they don't become dangerous. Most of the other rules that I can think of are fair and justified.

You definitely have to take a lot of things into account about the players and how the game is going until that point. For that particular play... I would definitely say it could have been a borderline call against Dillon, from our angle it definitely looks like he cross checks him in the back, which can be a dangerous play. However, fro the ice things often look a lot different and it's hard to say if that would have looked so bad if we were on the ice and could see the size differences between the player.

itsnotbacon3 karma

A (male) friend of mine that was a junior national said that while its great the USA brought home gold, no one on either team really wanted to win or lose by shootout. He said winning by shootout in a final is considered bush league by players, and the IOC should give the players the chance to win via regular play. How accurate is his statement?

frozennie15 karma

It's definitely an opinion, so I can't verify accuracy, but many, many people agree. It's terrible for a team sport to come down to individual players and the goalie and luck. Once a game goes down to a shootout it's no longer the best team that wins, but the team with the best shooter/goalie, so an individual is deciding the game for both teams. It's terribly disappointing and never truly feels like a fair victory.

forava73 karma

what got you into officiating? Can you recall that moment that you were like "Hey, I can be one too?"

frozennie3 karma

I answered this above - my mom wanted me to stop asking her for money to go to the mall when I was 12, so she signed me up for reffing so I could make my own money. The moment where I thought that I maybe could really make it as an official was when I was accepted into the elite program in my city - I also outlined that in an above answer. Thanks for your question!

6p3q3 karma

What kind of music do you like?

frozennie3 karma

I like all kinds of music! Mostly I listen to pop music, but my gf is always trying to diversify my music tastes by showing me different smaller/alternative artists.

DomesticChaos2 karma

I didn't see this earlier, but this makes me so curious! My daughter plays hockey so I have a couple of questions. 1. Did you play hockey and up to what level? 2. How can I encourage my daughter to ref because I'd like her to give back to her hockey community since she receives so much support from them?

frozennie3 karma

Yes, I did! I played hockey all the way up until beer league when I was 19, and I quit after that to focus more on reffing. I was never too good of a player, though.

I would say try and get in contact with your local referees association and ask about female officials or opportunities for girls. I've had parents bring their kids to my games because they want their girls to referee but their daughters say that they can't because there aren't any female officials. Definitely expose her to some great female officials in the men and women's games. Also, there are generally lots of opportunities for female officials because they are in short supply and high demand for the female game. If your daughter wants to get to the top and receive lots of cool opportunities (I have friends that have taken paid trips to China to ref, for example), she just has to work hard to get there!

Luna_Smith2 karma

Do you think we are far from a ref at the NHL level? And what kind of barriers would there be for such a thing

frozennie9 karma

Yeah, I personally still think we're pretty far. The NHL has said that they've had female officials at their officiating camp but this has never been confirmed, as far as I know. The biggest barrier is the sexism in hockey still - it's still a very masculine sport dominated by men, and there are still lots of men (and women) who believe that a woman couldn't handle officiating at that level. Even if people don't vocalize that opinion (most people know nowadays that they can't straight out say "women can't ref men's hockey"), there's still a lot of unconscious bias. People are more likely to criticize a female working a men's game, question her calls, and dismiss/challenge her authority over the game.

Luna_Smith3 karma

My follow up to that is then what steps do you think have to be taken in the officiating world to fix this issue, I think the you can play initiative has been a good start to making hockey more accepting in general but it still has a way to go obiously (as a player sorry for my ignorance on what the officiating side is like)

frozennie4 karma

Continuing to develop the women's game is essential - most people don't even know there's a professional women's league in Canada. Broadcasting games and more advertisement would be a great step. Other than that, we just need time for more female officials to work their way up through the male ranks and for more people to see that women can successfully officiate men's games. As this becomes more and more accepted it'll become more and more commonplace, hopefully.

doctor_72 karma

What's the best chirp you've heard directed at a player? And another ref or yourself (assuming the chirp is of a friendly nature)?

frozennie10 karma

The best chirp was one dude saying to another something like "You dangle as good as your mom's clit did last night." That one definitely stopped everyone in their tracks. Most memorably I was doing a senior midget game (16-17) year olds and one boy said to another in the most aggressive tone he could, "You look like a fucking BUG, buddy! An insect!" It was pretty hilarious to see a 17 year old burly kid yelling at another kid about how he looked like an insect.

moose05112 karma

In your opinion does the no contact rule make the game safer for players? Given that female hockey players have the highest rate of reported concussion amongst all college athletes, do you think players are getting injured because they aren't ready for a hit? Would you like to see contact in woman's hockey or do you prefer it as is?

Thank you so much for doing what you do and inspiring the next generation. I love how strong our Canadian women are on the ice.

frozennie6 karma

In my personal experience (without citing any studies, etc), I find a non-contact game is safer at the minor level. In minor level games with hitting, emotions tend to escalate extremely fast and the encouragement by coaches/parents of players to "CRUSH THAT GUY!!! KILL HIM!!" is a worrying message for young kids. In games without hitting, players are forced to keep their emotions in check and they know they can't step onto the ice and crush a player without consequence.

As for college women, it's very easy to believe they get lots of concussions. Because women's hockey has no hitting, the girls skate around with their heads down constantly. They aren't prepared for accidental contact and can easily get hurt when that happens. This could easily be fixed by players keeping their heads up more, and while bodychecking could encourage this, so could coaching. I answered about introducing hitting in women's hockey in a different reply, but basically I'm kind of undecided. It would definitely be exciting but I don't know if it's necessary for the game to still be great.

Thank you for your kind words!

moose05115 karma

Thanks for your reply, it's great to hear an informed perspective. I like the idea of changing coaching strategies to have college women keep their heads up, other then being ready for contact that could lead to improved play making abilities.

Just a quick follow up question inspired by your reply, how much of a problem are parents at the minor level? Parents seems to be getting more aggressive/involved every year, do you think this is true? Do you have any idea why this is or how we can change it? Thanks again for doing this ama!

frozennie4 karma

Parents are definitely... uh, out of control at times. I can't really say if it's been getting worse over the years, but there are definitely many, many examples I can think of of times that parents have totally lost their cool.

A particular example I always think about is the time I was about an hour early to my game one afternoon. The game before was novice (7-8 year olds) and the referees were two first year, thirteen year old kids I knew. I was sitting in the stands watching the game and the parents were just acting like complete buffoons. They were yelling, screaming, and cursing at the referees the entire time I was there. Finally near the end of the game I turned to the mom beside me and said, "You know, you shouldn't yell at the refs. They're just thirteen year old kids." She replied with, "Well, they deserve it because of the shitty fucking game they're reffing!" I said something about how it actually looked like they were doing a great job, to which she told me to fuck off because I clearly knew nothing about hockey. I just smiled and left and emailed a complaint about that team.

Anyway, I think my biggest problem is that parents want to blame everyone else for everything. They don't seem to want to teach their kids personal responsibility or how to overcome obstacles. Instead of telling their children, "sometimes things are unfair and you have to keep your head up and work through it," they want to teach them, "it's that fucking ref's fault you guys lost the game he's a total fuck head." In my mind, teaching your children to blame and curse the officials for everything that doesn't go that way is setting a poor example for life. In life, people make mistakes and injustices will happen against you and you can't just complain and bitch about it. Successful teams and players are those who work their best through whatever is happening to them.

forava72 karma

the most intense game you can recall?

frozennie6 karma

Most of the intense games I officiate are lower level games. Players, parents, and coaches are much more verbally abusive at these levels, whereas at higher levels everybody is professional enough to keep their cool. Recently I did a lower level midget game between two rival teams and every play the players were just trying to run each other over and everyone was yelling the entire game. That was the most intense game that I've done recently.

ADillPickle2 karma

What is your relationship with the players? Are you all on an even keel? Or is there a sort of power struggle?


frozennie3 karma

Generally we try to be as friendly as possible with the players! I'm always trying to have healthy and light conversation with the players on the ice. Some players like to chat, some don't. There are times when players get aggressive or rude and unfortunately then we have to step away from being a friend and back into the role of being in charge.

PornChampion2 karma

Who's your favorite referee in any level of hockey and why is it Wes McCauley?

frozennie3 karma

God, I had a contentious relationship with my love for Wes McCauley until his 'FIVE MINUTES FORRRRRR FIGHTING' video and now I just admit that he's basically my soul mate.

Sublime992 karma

You ever thought of moving abroad and playing/reffing? What you plan on doing after school?

frozennie2 karma

I've thought about it! I'm finishing up my undergrad next year and I'm wondering where I should go for graduate school. I've been thinking about moving to a bigger centre in Canada for more opportunities, but I'll definitely be spending the next year researching different opportunities all over!

Sproded2 karma

How much do you get paid for a game and does that vary a lot based on referee/linesman and level of play?

frozennie3 karma

Depends on the game! Generally at higher levels that I work, the linesman make $40-55 per game and referees make $60-110 per game.

nhgaudreau1 karma

Why don't refs wear and padding?

urlacher143 karma

A different ref here: We do :) I personally wear shin guards and elbow pads, and a nut cup, but Ms. Lady Ref may have something different she does

frozennie3 karma

Thanks! We definitely do, most refs at elite levels are wearing shin pads, a girdle, a cup/jill, and elbow pads at a minimum.

TonyTwisticles1 karma

Started reffing when you were 11? Gtfo

frozennie5 karma

At age 12! In BC, where I started reffing, this is the age you're allowed to begin at (http://www.bchockey.net/Officiating/Levels.aspx). Most kids start around age 12-13.

TonyTwisticles1 karma

That is crazy! How old are the players your reffing at that age?

frozennie4 karma

Generally as a 12-13 year old you ref novice (7-8) and maybe atom (9-10) if you're good by the end of your first season.

bumblebritches57-17 karma

Why do female olympic hockey teams regularly lose to high school boys teams?


frozennie43 karma

Probably because men have been playing competitive hockey for longer, have better elite hockey programs and coaches, and have way more players overall, but mostly because in general men are taller, stronger, and faster than women. Obviously.

The Canadian Women Olympic team has been playing high school boys teams for many years as prep & practice for them, as there are no other female teams for them to play of that caliber. It's a great arrangement that gives the boys an opportunity to try a game that focuses a bit more on puck play since they can't hit for that game, keeps the women in good practice, and generally the games are played in smaller communities that don't get to see any sort of high profile games often, so it often attracts a large crowd and fundraises for the town's local hockey community. I've officiated in these games and they're always very fun for everyone involved.