The Mentorship, or Shadow, program is one of the most effective and direct training tools available for first and second year officials. It allows for instantaneous feedback for the officials during the course of the game. It also serves to provide a visible support for new officials who are nervous and inexperienced, calming the players, coaches, and fans who can see that the new officials are receiving much needed training.


The program focuses on officials in their first or second year of officiating the two-official system at the Novice and Atom levels.

The Mentor works with each official for one period providing tips and suggestions on the proper positioning and procedures. The Mentor spends the third period off the ice, writing an evaluation for the officials to take home with them. At the Mentor’s discretion s/he may spend the entire game on the ice or spend more time with one official as their abilities dictate.

Mentoring is a developmental process involving someone with more experience - a MENTOR - that is designed to help and guide less experienced individuals.

The roles and responsibilities of the mentor are:

  • Give encouragement and immediate feedback to the officials on the ice officiating the games.
  • Help the younger inexperienced officials out with basic fundamentals such as positioning and when to blow the whistle.
  • Act as a calming influence for "very green" officials who may find themselves intimidated on the ice.
  • Encourage and communicate with the coaches on the proper way to deal with younger officials.
  • Bestow confidence to those officials being shadowed.
  • Convey to the players, coaches, and parents that these young officials are in a learning environment and that efforts are being made to provide them with quality officiating at all levels.
  • Provide an avenue for senior officials to pass on their experience to younger officials.

The following are the guidelines for the Mentorship program:

  • At the start of the game, the mentor chooses the less experienced ref to work with them on-ice first, and then moves on to the second official. The mentor can choose to work an entire period (or even game) with one official and then switch during the next period, or alternate as the game goes on.
  • The third period is spent in the penalty box writing notes and watching their improvement.
  • At the conclusion of the game, these notes are reviewed with the official as an informal supervision with positive reinforcement and encouragement.
  • Mentors wear a dark coloured track suit, helmet and half visor. No whistle is to be worn and no calls are to be made by the Mentor. They will allow the officials to make mistakes in order to coach them through those moments of indecision.
  • In the event of a highly controversial play or injury the mentor will actively support the on-ice officials as required.
  • Every effort will be made to not slow the pace of the game, and to be “invisible” on the ice by not getting involved in the play

The main goal for these officials is to build their confidence so that they enjoy officiating the game!

The Mentor should have a constant state of presence with the official that they are working with. The idea is to be a bug in their ear, giving them a constant voice that steers them in the right direction. This is accomplished by shadowing the official on the ice and giving them verbal instructions on where to be, where to go, etc, while focusing on the following key points:

  • Positioning in end zones
  • Teaching the basics of the cone: home base, ½ piston, at the net
  • Puck drop procedures in each zone
  • Where to conduct the faceoff
  • Assisting players in younger categories in lining up at each faceoff location, communication of the faceoff location, etc. We are not looking to have the official be perfect at dropping the puck flat or to master the correct position in which they should be dropping the puck
  • Back official’s duties in neutral zone
  • Skating backwards and letting the play come to them
  • Reading and moving with the play
  • Proper position on center-ice face-offs after goal is scored
  • Good communication on the ice before, during, and after game.
  • Promoting their confidence
  • Introducing themselves at the beginning of the game to the coaches
  • Whistle strengths
  • Do not focus on having them do the line change procedure as a first or even second year official, rather have them focus on helping players learn where to go and how to line up therefore improving the pace of the game at younger levels
  • Don’t stress the penalty procedure; just help them to gain the confidence to call it!!

Before the Game

  • Be at the rink one half hour before scheduled game time start, as if you were working the game itself.
  • If you get a chance, introduce yourself to the coaching staff of both teams and inform them of the Mentor program and let them know you’ll be on the ice. Ask if they have questions.
  • Don’t scold officials if they are not there at the half hour mark too (especially 7am games) but make sure that they are aware of the expectations and explain the importance that we arrive on time at the arena.
  • Spend time before the game answering questions about rules and situations that the officials might have and have conversation about certain situations that will come up. Keep it light but relevant.
  • Prepare a couple simple situations and ask each official how they would handle it. Then ask them to look it up in the rulebook and discuss. Curve balls are good, but make sure they are relevant to the hockey they are doing.

On the Ice

  • If you didn’t get a chance before dressing, introduce yourself to the coaching staff of both teams and inform them of the Mentor program and if they have any questions, let them know you will be available after the game when you’re finished your de-brief with the officials.
  • During the game allow officials to work the game, you are just there to help with positioning and show them proper techniques and where to be standing on face-off situations etc.
  • After each period have a quick talk at the penalty box about the period, point out any concerns. Switch officials for the second period and have another quick talk at the next break. If you have a coach’s whiteboard, bring it to the penalty bench when you hit the ice or go to the spot on the ice to demonstrate a procedure. Ask the timekeeper to allow an extra minute or two if you need it.
  • After the second period let the officials know that you are now going to leave them and watch from the stands. This is when you will fill out your supervision forms. If one or both officials need more guidance you can stay and continue through the third period with the shadow and send the supervision forms later.
  • When leaving after the second period, let the coaches know that you are leaving and thank them for allowing us to run the shadow program during their game.
  • It is important that the Mentor allows the official to make mistakes and avoid calling penalties. If it’s necessary, the Mentor does have the power to assess a penalty as covered in the current Hockey Canada rulebook.
  • The Mentor should avoid discussions with the coaches regarding the game except at the game’s conclusion.

After the game

  • Have the officials review and sign the game sheet just as you would do if it was your game.
  • Enter the room and discuss the game, answer questions and go through the supervisions together then individually. Let them know what each point means and how to work on it. Don’t be too critical and present each
    point in a positive manner. These are formative years and there will be plenty of time for critical supervisions!!
  • When filling out the Supervision form, please write MENTOR on the top so proper statistics can be kept.