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Prince Rupert short on hockey referees

PRMHA fears that there won’t be enough referees at this year’ Bantam Provincial Championships
Volunteer referee drops the puck in an exhibition game held over the weekend at the old timers hockey tournament. (Nick Laws / The Northern View)

Prince Rupert has been given the opportunity to host the Bantam Tier 4 hockey provincial championships — but they may not have enough refs to cover it.

Youth hockey refereeing is not the most popular of jobs, and there appears to be a shortage in the Prince Rupert area.

The shortage is causing some worry with officials at the Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association.

Carmen Gottschling-Aceto the ref allocator at the Minor Hockey Association claims that supply of refs may not meet the demand.

“Numbers are down overall, it just isn’t as strong as it used to be,” she said.

While not the most glorious of roles every game needs a ref, and in tournaments with multiple games going on throughout the day, multiple refs are needed.

Vince Aceto assistant coach of the Bantam rep Seawolves said, refs get tired too.

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“They don’t get the breaks in between like players do, and they are out there hustling up and down the ice all game,” he said.

The issue may not be an urgent one, but it will be costly if the league cannot find enough local refs to fill the tournament.

And while most big tournaments require officials from out of town, Gottschling-Aceto is worried that this year they will need more than they are usually accustomed to.

“We may have to reach out to Kitimat, Terrace and maybe even Smithers,” he said.

With five months before the tournament kicks off the Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association has plenty of time to sort out their dilemma, and train their refs.

“We usually train them over a weekend clinic, plus added ice time and skating drills,” Aceto said.

The Bantam tier 4 provincial championships will kick off in March of 2019.

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