The Frozen Four in Washington, D.C., will feature two days of thrilling competition . . . as well as two referees on the ice.
While the NCAA’s decision is hardly breaking news ‚Äî it was announced in June that they would implement the system for all games this season ‚Äî it is interesting to see former assistant coach for the Washington Capitals and current Providence College head coach Tim Army firmly in favor of adding a referee. After all, Army was with the Capitals in 1998 when the two-referee system debuted in the NHL so he’s had ample experience with it. Per the Friartown Free Press:
“This system will allow for a stricter enforcement of the rules, thus enhancing the overall speed of our game,” [Army] said this week. “The emphasis on speed will create more open lanes that can be exploited with quick puck movement. Speed and possession will produce better transitional and cycling play which will increase offensive activity in the scoring areas resulting in greater goal production.”
Army clearly feels that, after working out some initial kinks (e.g., a significant spike in penalties called), the two-referee system has helped the game more than it has hindered play.
The extra body on the ice does create more traffic . . . something that switching to an international-sized rink would remedy, of course, but that change will likely never happen due to the expense of changing arenas and the lost revenue from having fewer 100-level seats. Yet if the referee pair works well together and calls games consistently (granted, a big “if”), away-from-the-puck infractions are more often caught due to the extra man with the orange armband.
Regardless, the additional ref has certainly doubled the opportunity for clever referee taunts.
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