How Do I Become an Ice Hockey Official?

Please read the article below from Marty Maglio our Seminar Coordinator if you are interested in becoming an official.

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Atlantic District Officials Program. Here's how to get started as a USA Hockey Ice Hockey Official in the Atlantic District

USA Hockey is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States. It is the United States member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). As such, USA Hockey Officials are eligible to be assigned at all levels of officiating, including Olympic and IIHF games.

Background How it works

All USA Hockey Officials start as a Level 1. You may advance one level each year to the highest level, Level 4. As you progress, you will attend advanced training seminars to prepare you for more challenging game assignments. You'll learn the mechanics of officiating and work on your skating skills in addition to learning how to apply the rules in game situations.

Making the commitment

While there are no stringent age restrictions for USA Hockey officials, In the Atlantic District we have had very little success in this District working with children who are under 14 years old. Due to this situation the Atlantic District strongly believes that starting your officiating career before the age of 14 is not a good choice. Please consider that the number of games available for them is very limited and usually coincide with the officials playing schedule. Many Leagues in our District strongly recommend that officials be at least two levels older than the games that they officiate. As a result, there are very few games that they can officiate (especially in the spring and summer), so they can become discouraged and often quit before we ever have a chance to work with them and develop their skills. You should carefully consider this before making the full commitment. Also some states restrict youngsters under 14 year of age from working as an official - the Atlantic District strongly urge you to check with your state labor laws. Please check with your local Referee association or USA Hockey State Supervisor of Officials for the applicable laws in your state.

Level 1 Requirements

All new officials applying at Level 1 must:

Register with USA Hockey

Attend a USA Hockey Level 1 Officiating seminar

Pass an Open Book Exam (35 of 50 questions)

Complete the on-line Level 1 seminar curriculum

Officials 18 and older must complete SafeSport training and complete a background screening every two years

1. Register With USA Hockey. Go to the USA Hockey Officials Registration page and complete the on-line registration. You will be asked to create an on-line profile. This USA Hockey Profile is very important as it will create the registration record that USA Hockey will use to track completion of the registration requirements listed above. For that reason, the exact name, address, birth date and email address used to create your profile will be used to match your seminar attendance, exam results, and training accomplishment records. Please be sure you enter this information correctly. The user name and password you create will allow you to review your USA Hockey Profile to track your reservation status and submit game reports as necessary.

Officials under the age of 18 will be required to have a parent or guardian complete their registration.

2. Attend and Complete a Level 1 Seminar. Go to the USA Hockey Officiating Seminars page and reserve a seat at a Level 1 seminar using your USA Hockey Profile to log on. At the seminar you will receive instruction in the basics of Officiating. Seminars include classroom instruction and on-ice drills. For that reason, you should bring skates, a helmet (preferably black) without a face cage, and a finger whistle to the seminar as well as note-taking material for the classroom session. Classroom topics that will be covered include the rule book, signals, positioning, equipment, and penalty calling procedures. On the ice you will learn power skating techniques, how to conduct a face-off, and participate in positioning drills. Continued study is necessary and you will receive a Basic Officiating Manual to read at home.

There is no charge for attendance at a USA Hockey Officiating Seminar, but you must be registered with USA Hockey first (Step 1 above).

3. Pass an Open Book Exam. After you register with USA Hockey, you will receive a USA Hockey rule book in the mail. You will also receive an email with the link to the USA Hockey Open Book Exam. You can take your open book test as soon as you complete your registration, but we highly recommend you not attempt to take the test until after you attend the seminar.

The Open Book Exam is a 50 question test for Level 1 Officials. All other levels must complete all 100 questions on the test. The test is designed to help you learn to navigate the rule book; how the rules are organized and how to look up rule references. Refer to the 2013-2014 Open Book Exam for an example of the test. It is an open book test, so use the rulebook as you take the test. If you don't want to use the paper rule book, you can download a pdf version of the rule book and/or case book from the Southeastern District Library.

4. Complete the On-line Level 1 Seminar Curriculum. All Officials are required to complete certain computer-based training modules. For Level 1 Officials, there are 14 required modules (8 of which should be completed prior to attending a seminar) plus additional elective modules for a total training time of approximately two hours. Once you have completed your registration as described in step 1, above, you will be granted access to the on-line training at the USA Hockey web site using your USA Hockey Profile. There is a time limit for completion of the on-line training. You must complete all required modules within 60 days from the time you start the first module, so plan your time to allow for a few hours to complete the on-line training before and after the seminar.

The on-line training modules consist of presentations with video clips that illustrate the presentation topic. Modules are generally 3-8 minutes in length (some may be longer) and there is a short quiz at the end of each module to check for comprehension. You must pass this quiz in order to receive credit for completing the module.

5. Complete SafeSport Training and Background Screening. This requirement only applies to Officials who are 18 years of age and older on August 1, 2017. Officials turning 18 in the 2017-2018 season (August 1, 2017 - July 31, 2018) will be required to complete SafeSport in the next (2018-2019)season.

The on-line SafeSport training is designed to raise awareness of the potential for abuse of players and help keep our athletes safe. The training was produced by the United States Olympic Committee and is offered to USA Hockey Officials at no cost. Go to the USA Hockey SafeSport Training Program page for more information and to register for the on-line training. If you are over the age of 18, you will not receive your card and crest until you have completed this registration requirement.

Background Screening Process:

The Background Screening program is administered locally using USA Hockey's national background investigation organization, the National Child Safety Initiative (NCSI). Background screening is required every two years for Officials over the age of 18. This program is administered within the District and although you may receive your card and crest from USA Hockey, if you are 18 or older, you will not be assigned to work games until your background screening is complete.

If you turn 18 during the 2018-2019 season (after August 1, 2018 but prior to August 1, 2019), you will be required to complete your SafeSport training and Background Screening for the 2018-2019 season. If you are turning 18 in the 2018-2019 season, do not try to do your screening or SafeSport training early. In order to ensure proper credit, you should start the SafeSport training and apply for your background screening on or after August 1, 2018.

As you complete your registration requirements, you can track your progress by using your USA Hockey Profile to view your registration status on-line at USA Hockey. Make sure you complete all of your registration requirements. USA Hockey does not offer refunds for incomplete registrations.

For all PA residents who participate with a PA club, as an Administrator, Coach, Game Official, Team Manager or Trainer:

All those in the state of PA are required to comply with both the Pennsylvania Act 153 as well as the AAHA policy. The database on our website is reflective of all who need to be screened this season. However, all clubs are required to give the District a list of all who have complied with the Act 153 requirements and were accepted by the club. When we receive that list, we will update the database on our webpage showing that you have been screened. So even if it says that "rescreening is required", you may not have to be rescreened if you completed your Act requirement. We will update the database as we go along while we receive the completed reports from the clubs. All clubs are required to send in their reports by November 30, 2017.

In accordance with the PA Act requirement and our AAHA requirement, below is the yearly time table of how this will work. If you were not screened last year thru the PA Act requirement, you must do so immediately in order to participate for this 2017-18 season.

If you're screening started:

Year Screened Compliance Required:
2015-16 You were screened under PA 153
2016-17 No current screening required
2017-18 AAHA screening required
2018-19 No current screening required
2019-20 AAHA screening required
2020-21 PA 153 screening required
If your screening started:

Year Screened Compliance Required:
2015-16 PA 153 screening required
2016-17 No current screening required
2017-18 AAHA screening required
2018-19 No current screening required
2019-20 AAHA screening required
2020-21 PA 153 screening required

Screening Rules

For all New Jersey and Delaware residents who do not participate with a PA club, as an Administrator, Coach, Game Official, Team Manager or Trainer as per below: An applicant must register online directly with Verified Volunteers, Inc. who processes the Atlantic District screenings. You CANNOT send in a request by mail to the Atlantic District office as was done in the past.

By registering directly online, you will pay by credit card a fee of $28.00 directly to Verified Volunteers while you are registering online. This will generate your request electronically and will enable you to receive a copy of your screening and proof that you have been screened by return email directly to you. To register for screening, go online to:

Simply completing your USA Hockey registration is not a guarantee of being assigned games. It is the responsibility of the official to contact the scheduler when they receive their registration card and crest in order to be considered for game assignment. Some regions in the Atlantic District have local officials associations that facilitate scheduling and payment for games worked. See the Links page for local officials associations in the Atlantic District. Assigners try to pair the best officials for the game to be worked. Assignment is not done from a list where games are assigned on an equal basis. Assignment of games is based on availability, skill level, skating ability and other factors which include the need to develop new officials. Availability of games may vary based on seasonal demand and other requirements established by the individually owned hockey rinks. Don't worry; assignors in the Atlantic District will try to make your first assignment a non-body checking games with the younger age groups. You will work with senior partners who will help you learn the ropes. As you progress, you will be assigned to higher level games and be eligible to attend advanced Referee training camps.

The USA Hockey season runs from August 1 to July 31. You must renew your registration every season to remain current and eligible to officiate. You can advance one level each season, so if you complete your first year as a Level 1 you can apply at Level 1 or Level 2 the following season. There is a four month grace period for renewal, so although the season runs from August 1 to July 31, you have until November 30th each year to complete your renewal. If you do not complete all requirements for renewal, you will be ineligible to officiate on December 1. The requirements for renewal at the higher levels are more stringent. At Level 2 and 3 the open book test has 100 questions and you will be required to pass a closed book test at the seminar. Level 4's must pass open book, closed book and on-ice skating tests. However, as you progress you will be allowed to attend advanced training camps and may possibly be selected to work national championship, collegiate or Olympic Games. Many professional Officials began their career with USA Hockey.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.

Marty Maglio

Atlantic District Seminar Coordinator

USA Hockey