USA Hockey Magazine

September 2019

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Page 40 of 56

IKE SO MANY PIONEERS in the game, Kevin Collins is proud of the past. So as the keynote speaker at the inaugural USA Hockey Advanced Officiating Symposium, the hall of fame offi- cial spent the first half of his speech paying homage to those who helped usher in the early days of officiating education. But suddenly the legendary NHL linesman shifted g ears and challeng ed those in attendance to look to the future by protecting the next generation of offi- cials against the verbal and physical abuse from parents and coaches. Sitting idly by and watching the mass exo- dus of talented young whistle blowers could not only risk the next generation of promising officials, but could plung e the future of the game into uncertainty. "The past is positive, but the pres- ent and the future are not quite as rosy," said Collins, who was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. "Abuse by coaches and parents is taking its toll on young and old officials alike. This is not a regional issue but a national one." To help stem the tide of officials leaving the game, Collins called on the 250 high-level officials in attendance at the symposium to take matters into their own hands by providing support and serving as mentors to those just starting out in the game. Mass Exodus Of Young Officials Threatens The Future Of The Game By Harry Thompson An exodus of qualified officials could potentially have a dramatic impact on the game at many levels. A CALL TO ARMS SEPTEMBER 2019 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 39

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