The need for fitness
Last Updated: October 30, 2008 4:17 PM
Graham Carmichael The Ref
The last time you were at the rink you may have seen a call by a referee who was a bit behind the play. He was doing his best, but the speed of the game has left him half a step behind.
Huge changes in the game have led to a crackdown on obstruction fouls and put the spotlight on the speed and skill of the players. The game is now faster and more exciting. All of this is a move in a positive direction for everyone who enjoys hockey. However it has also lead to a new challenge for officials.
We have to be in better shape in order to keep up with the new pace of play. We can't afford to be half a step behind. For some, this hasn't been a huge issue as they are already in top shape, but for others, like myself, it has led to a new commitment to fitness.
Recently I have put the pedal to the medal, so to speak, and lost 20 pounds in preparation for this season. It was a lot of work and required much self-discipline, but now I feel much better on the ice and in my everyday life.
I feel my new quickness has led to improvements in my game as a referee. I'm now working higher levels of hockey for the first time.
Officials who are serious about improving must hit the gym and get into the same shape as the players they want to officiate. I spend an hour and a half working out everyday (an hour lifting weights, and a half hour on the bike).
I realize that not everyone has this much time to spend in the gym, but much can be accomplished with less. Most fitness experts say that a half-hour a day three days a week is sufficient to improve well-being.
The thing to remember, however, is no matter if you're young or old, working recreational hockey or professional hockey you need to realize the game has changed. It is faster and referees need to get in shape and keep up.