HALIFAX – Minor hockey associations in Nova Scotia are the latest to embrace a program aimed at eliminating verbal abuse of young referees by identifying them on ice with a green armband.
Jason Clark, the referee-in-chief with the Cole Harbour Minor Hockey Association, says it’s not uncommon for spectators and even coaches to hurl insults at officials when unpopular calls are made.
Clark says that aggressive comments and yelling from the stands have led some young referees to quit.
This season, all referees under the age of 18 in the Cole Harbour association — where NHL star Sidney Crosby got his start — are wearing green armbands in hopes of sparing them abuse.
The green armband program was first introduced in Canadian minor hockey by Hockey Montreal in 2020, adopted from a similar baseball program in Quebec, and it is also in place at other associations in Nova Scotia and in many organizations in Ontario.
John Reid, referee-in-chief at Hockey Eastern Ontario, says he’s noticed an improvement in the level of verbal harassment since their hockey association started using green armbands last year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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