Irate parents & coaches to blame for major MA hockey referee shortage

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — The president of Mass Hockey said they are now down about 900 officials, meaning some games are going without a ref. And the main reason he cites is refs tired of dealing with unruly conduct toward them.

In one video, a hockey referee can be seen sitting outside a locker room door preventing an angry coach from coming in.

“He wasn’t asking him out to dinner,” said referee Eugene Binda. “He didn’t like the calls. Sometimes people go bonkers over the littlest things.”

In another clip, after things started heating up on the ice between 15-year-olds, things started heating up in the stands.

“Parents out of control, coaches out of control, emotions run high,” Binda said. “Sometimes they cross the line.”

Because of situations like these, the Mass Hockey president said several referees have either not returned this season or left since the season started.

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“A young female official getting berated by parents and coaches to the point where she decided at the start of a three-game set that she wasn’t going to do it anymore and walked off the ice,” said president Bob Joyce.

“I don’t blame them,” said Weymouth hockey parent Mary Kay White. “My boys play other sports too and I’ve seen the same types of things.”

The referee shortage, although coming from just the choices of a few, is now chipping away at the quality of the sport.

“I really feel bad for the other 2000 games that go off,” Binda said. “We are worried about the three or four that are making the news tonight.”

The league tells us it is increasing the penalties on coaches if there is abuse and figuring out ways to keep parents calm as well.

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