CYO Minor Hockey is a league that was born out of a love for the game. We strive to develop all our players through on and off-ice activities, skills and drills, game play, and teamwork. But did you know that our CYO is about more than just developing players - we also develop referees?
Some of the young referees who are on the ice here in St Catharines are CYO U15, U18, and U21 players with a high love of the game who want to take their development and training to a whole other level, helping the younger players learn the game, and mediating the play on the ice.
It is often the first thought of every parent, player, or bench staff when a call is made against them or their team by the referee that the call is wrong, the ref made a mistake, the ref wasn't watching, the ref didn't see X, Y, or Z. And then the insults start flying, from both the benches and the stands--insults that are not politely worded, screamed by adults, at children, who are out there trying to do their best to learn just as much as the players are.
Our young referees have completed and passed multiple certification courses, and through the CYO, are now gathering game experience during the season officiating the lower aged games to help them expand and develop their skillset, just as we do with our players. While almost all young referees are paired with more seasoned veterans for each game, that may not always be the case due to a shortage of available ice officials--a sad state that affects leagues across the country.
There is a huge shortage of on-ice officials across the country, and in some cases it can cause games to be cancelled when you cannot find enough officials to take the ice.
No refs, no game. It's that simple.
Too many officials burn out and walk away due to the abuse they suffer for something that should be celebrated. We welcome our young players - the U15s, U18s, and U21s - with open arms when they come out to help with practice ice or timekeeping..., why are we not doing the same when they come out to officiate?
It is extremely important for all CYO players, bench staff, volunteers, and spectators to remember our referees are part of our family, too. They are the older siblings of the players on your bench. The father, uncle, brother, sister, son, or daughter of the person sitting in the stands beside you. A schoolmate. A member of your community. A friend.
Please help us keep the CYO as the best league in the region by showing our support and respect to all our members.
Including the ones in the stripped shirts.