COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Wild/University of North Dakota), who served as an alternate captain for the silver medal-winning 2010 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, has been named captain of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team it was announced today by USA Hockey. Parise is in his second season as an alternate captain with the National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild.
The XXII Olympic Winter Games will be held Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia. The United States plays Slovakia in its first game Feb. 13.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Parise tied for the team lead in both goals (four) and points (eight) and was named to the media all-star team.
Parise, who served as both captain and alternate captain over the course of his tenure playing for the New Jersey Devils, was an alternate captain on the gold medal-winning 2004 U.S. National Junior Team, as well as the 2008 U.S. Men's National Team. He also competed at two other International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championships (2005, 2007), the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship and was a member of the gold medal-winning 2002 US. Men's National Under-18 Team at the IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championship.
Parise has collected 482 points (230-252) in 591 games played during a nine-year NHL career that includes stints with the Minnesota Wild (2012-present) and New Jersey Devils (2005-12). He has played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs seven times and helped guide the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
BROWN, SUTER TO SERVE AS ALTERNATE CAPTAINS
Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Los Angeles Kings) and Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Minnesota Wild/University of Wisconsin) have been tabbed as alternate captains for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team.
Brown, who is in his sixth season as captain of the Los Angeles Kings, served as an alternate captain of the 2010 Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. He also captained the 2009 U.S. Men's National Team at the IIHF Men's World Championship. Brown, who is making his eighth appearance with Team USA in international competition, played for the United States in three other IIHF Men's World Championships (2004-bronze, 2006, 2008) and two IIHF World Junior Championships (2002, 2003).
Suter, who was an alternate captain on his first U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team in 2010, is currently in his second season as alternate captain with the Minnesota Wild. He previously served as captain of the 2005 U.S. National Junior Team that played in the IIHF World Junior Championship. Suter has been a member of Team USA at four IIHF Men's World Championships (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009), three IIHF World Junior Championships (2003, 2004-gold, 2005) and two IIHF Men's Under-18 World Championships (2002-gold, 2003).
NOTES: The 25-man roster for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team was announced on NBC as part of its coverage of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. ... Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the head coach of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. Tony Granato, assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Todd Richards, head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Peter Laviolette, serve as assistant coaches ... USA Hockey's International Council, chaired by Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. National Teams.
Jamie Langenbrunner (2010)
Chris Chelios (1998, 2002, 2006)
Peter Laviolette (1994)
Clark Donatelli (1992)
Brian Leetch (1988)
Phil Verchota (1984)
Mike Eruzione (1980)
John Taft (1976)
Tim Sheehy (1972)
Lou Nanne (1968)
Herb Brooks/ Bill Reichert (1964)
Jack Kirrane (1960)
Gene Campbell (1956)
Al Van (1952)
Goodwin Harding (1948)
Jack Garrison (1936)
John Chase (1932)
Irving Small (1924)
Joe McCormick (1920)
No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official. Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.
The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.
Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.
An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.
Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”
That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”
The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.
Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.
USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.
In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.
The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.
As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.