NHL: Open Letter to the Officials

Tony HagenContributor IApril 3, 2008

An open letter to the NHL and it’s Officials

Feel Free to chime in

NHL Referee

To: Stephen Walkom, Gary Bettman

From: Fans Everywhere

Re: Calling today’s game

Dear Mr. Walkom and Mr. Bettman:

As a diehard fan since 1970 I must say that things have changed a lot over the years. Some things are nice to see and others seem to lead to issues and fans disgruntled from pole to pole and across the seas. We the fans love the game of hockey, yes we always want our team to win but hey we are all educated to some degree and know that is next to impossible to expect a team to win all 82 games.

Fans, players, coaches and general managers all wanted to see scoring up; bad play down and we want to see our favorite players skim across the ice surface, make the great inside out move and blast one past the opposing goaltender. We the fans think that the recent rule changes for the most part allow this sort of play to happen on some sort of regular basis.

Now for the part that seems to be at the forefront of the issue. We are tired of the back referee making a call when the referee closer to the play does not. Now that’s not to say that something was not happening behind the play but when the back referee makes a hooking call from center ice and the blade of the players stick was never hooked around any part of the player with the puck hands, legs, mid-section or any other part of his body, how can that be called. The game is being slowed down, power-play and penalty killing seems to take a front and center within the game and cuts into the rest of the teams flow and personnel.

We are asking not to make drastic changes or are we asking for an entire re-write of the rules, we want consistent calls, and we want actual calls. A referee should never determine the outcome of a game. The fans know that it’s the fastest paced game going, there is so much happening all over the ice and not everything is going to be seen. How about using video for other things, you know like the referee’s missing the puck into the net earlier this year when the Red Wings were playing the Sharks. Well I do not want to get into all this because the list would be longer than most people would be willing to sit and read. How about getting it right, how about holding people responsible for blowing calls. Let the fans know you’re willing to listen and fix the things that are bad about the game and how about just giving hockey back to the players and letting them decide. We really expect flagrant and obvious penalties to be called, but those that just look like a penalty should not be called unless it is right in front of the referee. If the minor does not interfere with the puck handler’s ability to continue or make his play then let it be. I suggest to you, how about a little more confabs between referee’s and if they can not both agree then just drop the call.

So many times one team gets nailed for three or four penalties and the very next suspicious call is going against the other team because thing have to even out in the end. Hogwash, call the penalty and if one teams takes them all and the other team does not, well then the guilty should work on their game and stop taking so many penalties. Let’s get the game cleaned up, the phantom calls out and just allow the play to happen. Well in closing just let me say I think the job is tough, and I think we all agree not all calls are going to be 100 percent right, we just want them closer than they have been.

Thanks for listening,

Hockey fans everywhere.