Sportsmanship & Referees

During games, we request that parents refrain from yelling at referees, linesmen, opposing players, or coaches of either team; this unsportsmanlike conduct reflects poorly on the team, the Town of North Andover, and most importantly, on the parent's own child. Please do not "coach" from the stands by yelling instructions to your child or any other player. Often times this may contradict what a coach is asking of a player or what a player is seeing on the ice We want players to develop the ability to read the games for themselves, make mistakes on their own, and learn from them with our help.

NAYHL supports and encourages the Zero tolerance rules as specified by USA Hockey. The referee has the right to stop play and ask the coaches to control the spectators. Spectators that do not abide by the referee and or coaches requests will be requested to leave the facilities. The game will remain unplayed with running clock until the situation becomes controlled. The player, that is associated with the unruly spectator, can also be removed. The referee also has the right to suspend the game, and cite a forfeit against the responsible team. Furthermore, the spectator and/or player are subject to additional disciplinary actions from the local governing body (e.g., Mass Hockey). This action can include suspension from all facilities for the spectator, as well as dismissal of the player. Criminal complaints can and will be utilized if deemed necessary.

Please give the same consideration to referees. There is a dramatic shortage of referees and umpires in youth sports. Attrition rates are at an all-time high, with upwards of 60% of young referees leaving after their first year. While most kids get into refereeing because they love the game, they often cite verbal abuse and stress, caused by coaches and parents as a key reason they leave. Remember your player may want to be a referee and we are sure you wouldn’t be pleased with an adult yelling at your 14-year-old over a mite hockey game.

It’s important to remember that referees will inevitably make mistakes, but yelling at a referee will not improve the situation. Every referee calls a game differently, but ideally referees strive for consistency. This is even more challenging at the younger skill levels where players are inconsistent and inexperienced. Was that a body check or two players who don’t know how to stop colliding? Was that a slash or did the player whiff at the puck?

Many referees at this level are often young adults who are learning how to referee themselves. This is especially the case at the Mite, Squirt and Pee Wee Levels. We need to work with them as coaches, players and parents to help them become the best referees they can be. Without referees, we cannot play.

At the youth level, you'll often see two officials on the ice. Because of shortages in rare cases, there will be only one official. It's easy for us to call offsides sitting in the stands, but remember, these officials need to keep track of 12 players, 2 benches, a 200 x 85 feet sheet of ice, while constantly moving for an hour, 5 or 6 times a day.

There may be a situation where a player gets out of hand, playing recklessly, slashing at the goalie, taking many penalties, etc. While this may be frustrating to watch, trust in your coach to handle the issue by communicating with the referee (or the player, if it's our own.)

Parents should never approach the benches, a referee, an opposing player, coach or locker room.

During a lopsided game, a coach may request his players to pass the puck around, and not shoot, or shoot after a set number of passes in order to keep the score reasonable.

At the end of every game, regardless of outcome or circumstances during the game, players will skate the handshake line before coming off the ice. Players are expected to be respectful to each opponent and coach, shake hands and/or fist bump. Punching, bumping, or skating away from players without shaking hands is not tolerated.

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