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How To Become An Ice Hockey Referee In USA?

Becoming an ice hockey referee offers numerous advantages, including a deepened understanding of the game, personal development through enhanced decision-making and communication skills, and the promotion of physical fitness.

There are 28,328 registered officials in the USA in 2022-2023 according to USA Hockey.

In this article, we will introduce how to become an ice hockey referee in the US.

Becoming an ice hockey referee in the United States involves several steps.

  • Minimum Requirements

Be at least 14 years old. Have a good understanding of the game of hockey.

  • Learn the Rules

Familiarize yourself with the rules of ice hockey. You can find rulebooks and resources on the USA Hockey website.

  • Register with USA Hockey

Register as an official with USA Hockey. You can do this online through the USA Hockey website (

  • Complete the Online Modules

USA Hockey provides online training modules for new officials. Complete these modules to learn about the rules, positioning, and other aspects of being a referee.

  • Attend a Seminar

Attend an in-person seminar or clinic offered by USA Hockey. These seminars provide practical training, on-ice sessions, and an opportunity to ask questions. You can find information about seminars on the USA Hockey website.

  • Pass the Open Book Exam

After attending the seminar, you’ll need to pass an open book exam. This exam tests your knowledge of the rules and other officiating concepts.

  • Complete the Online Closed Book Exam

Following the open book exam, you’ll need to take a closed book exam online. This exam assesses your understanding of the material covered in the seminars and online modules.

  • Complete the SafeSport Training

SafeSport training is required for all USA Hockey officials. This training focuses on creating a safe environment for athletes and preventing abuse.

  • Background Check

Complete a background check as part of the registration process. This is a standard requirement for anyone working with youth sports.

  • Purchase Equipment

Invest in the necessary officiating equipment, such as a referee jersey, whistle, helmet, skates, and other protective gear.

  • Find Officiating Opportunities

Contact local hockey organizations, leagues, or associations to express your interest in officiating. They may have opportunities for you to gain experience at lower-level games.

  • Gain Experience

Officiate at various levels of play to gain experience and improve your skills. This may involve working youth and amateur games initially.

  • Advance Your Certification

As you gain experience, you can work towards higher levels of officiating certification. USA Hockey has different levels of certification, including Levels 1 through 4.

  • Stay Informed

Stay updated on rule changes and attend additional seminars to continue your education as an official.


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