SOCHI, Russia – Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs) scored three goals, each assisted by Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks), to help the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team defeat Slovenia, 5-1, in the preliminary round finale for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The win clinches first place in Group A for Team USA (2-1-0-0, W-OTW-OTL-L) and a berth into the quarterfinals. Kessel’s hat trick was the first by a U.S. Olympian since John LeClair achieved the feat in 2002.
Kessel began the scoring with goals at 1:04 and 4:33 of the opening period. First, Kessel deked around a defenseman, outside to inside, to earn a clear path to the net and beat goaltender Luca Gracnar low. Then, Pavelski retrieved a dump-in along the goal line and flipped the puck across the crease for Kessel to whack out of mid-air into the goal.
The U.S. doubled its lead to 4-0 with goals at 11:05 and 12:17 of the second stanza. Kessel completed his natural hat trick by tapping in the rebound from Pavelski’s right point shot. Later, Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn./Winnipeg Jets) circled the offensive zone before stopping in the left corner and finding Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul, Minn./New York Rangers) in the far circle. McDonagh quickly snapped the puck high over the goalie’s glove.
David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) made it 5-0 at 3:26 of the third period, crashing the net and deflecting a Ryan Callahan (Rochester, N.Y./New York Rangers) pass just inside the right post.
Slovenia spoiled goaltender Ryan Miller’s (East Lansing, Mich./Buffalo Sabres) shutout with 18 seconds left in the game when Marcel Rodman scored. Miller finished with 17 saves.
The U.S. returns to action Wednesday (Feb. 19) in the quarterfinal round. Team USA’s opponent and game time will be decided Tuesday (Feb. 18) at the conclusion of the qualification round.
As we enter the 2015-16 registration season for officials, I want to give an update of what changes to expect this season.
The Officials Section has been busy since the 2015 Winter Meeting, working on implementing the registration changes that were discussed and voted on by the district referees-in-chief, along with refining the testing and online seminar programs.
For 2015-16, there will be an informational video available before an official registers with USA Hockey outlining the requirements and commitment that an individual will need to fulfill in order to complete their registration.
Next, and a very important change, starting with this season, in order to register for a seminar, an official will have to first register as an official (online) with USA Hockey in order to gain access to the online program to register for a seminar.
This change was due to a number of individuals who would never register as an official with USA Hockey and then ‘no show’ to the seminar that they registered for, which frequently led to other registered officials being denied attendance at that seminar because the seating capacity had already been reached.
This change will provide more incentive for every individual who registers as an official -- and registers for a seminar -- to attend that seminar and complete the registration requirements.
The open-book testing process has also been modified for the coming season. What hasn’t changed is that a Level 1 official will still have to answer the first 50 questions, while Level 2, 3 & 4 officials will have to answer 100 questions. However, the passing score for a Level 2 official has been modified to 80 from 85. All other passing scores remain the same as last year. Those minimum passing scores are 35 for a Level 1 official and 90 for Levels 3 and 4.
While an official is taking the open-book exam, there will be immediate feedback provided after each answer is submitted. If the question was answered incorrectly, the rule reference for that missed question will be given with the appropriate rule book language.
After completing all of the required questions, a summary will be sent of all incorrect responses with their rule references. If a passing score is obtained, then the open-book exam requirement will be complete.
If the result is a failing score, after the seven-day waiting period has passed, the official will only have to retake those questions that were incorrectly answered on their first open-book exam. The retake questions will be based on the same rule reference as the originally missed questions, but will cover a different aspect of the rule.
Once all of the retake questions are answered, the number of correctly answered retake questions will be added to the original test score to hopefully obtain a passing grade. As a reminder, there is no third attempt to pass the open-book exam.
IN-CLASS SEMINARS & ONLINE EDUCATION UPDATES
During the winter meeting, the Officials Section spent considerable time discussing seminar program feedback, and in particular, the online modules. All feedback was taken seriously and an action plan was discussed and adopted.
Two work groups were established to address the new classroom curriculums and to improve the online video modules. Both were comprised of grassroots members who could bring a grassroots perspective to their work. Both groups have completed their work and their recommendations have been adopted. The new shortened classroom curriculums have been distributed for application to this coming seminar season and the online modules are being re-engineered with improved formatting, better sequencing, animation replacing some video clips and reduction of music and voice-overs to allow the viewer to better focus on the presented material.
We’ve also evaluated the number of required modules for each level, and based on the user analytics that the first years’ experience produced, we have reduced the number of required modules in some cases.
Lastly, as a reminder, once an official begins their first online module, they will need to complete all of their online module training within a specified time period. The online module completion time periods are 60 days for Level 1 registered officials and 45 days for Levels 2, 3 and 4. If all of the required and elective modules are not completed within the specified time frame, the official will have to restart all of the module training from the beginning. This requirement was waived during last year’s registration season due to the delayed rollout of the online module program, but it’s back in place this year.
This completion requirement was put in place by the District RICs to encourage all officials to complete their registration as early as possible and to provide continuity in the overall seminar education process.
As a reminder, to complete an official’s registration an applicant must:
Work will continue on improving our educational programs, and as always, we will continue actively listening to your constructive feedback. Without your involvement and support as a community, we cannot continue moving forward. Acknowledging that improvements were needed was only one step in the process. Implementing those changes in a way that meets the needs of our officiating community is the next step and we’re excited to be taking that step.
Have a great 2015-16 season and as always, skate hard and have fun when you’re on the ice.