There’s an old saying, if you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes. Since it’s inception, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference has been open to trying new things. They’ve been the lead dog.
Moreover, while some in college hockey are resistant to change and have dragged their feet on anything that will make the games better, the NCHC has been open to trying new things.
Last night, during an exhibition game between the University of North Dakota and the Under-18 Team, the NCHC mic’d up their on-ice officials. Just like the NHL officials, when the refs called a penalty, they turned on their microphones and made the call at center ice in front of the penalty box. I thought it was well received and it was interesting listening to Brad Shepherd and Sterling Egan make the call over the arena’s PA system. It’s also very transparent.
According to Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald, this is an experiment and will not be happening every game.
The NCHC is expected to collect feedback from the teams, officials and fans in the coming week about the experiment.
If feedback is positive, expect further discussions on the topic at the annual coach and administrator meetings in April in Florida. Those discussions would likely center on the feasibility of doing it at all eight NCHC venues, and if that’s impossible, the possibility of doing it at select arenas.
So, if you approve of the on-ice officials being mic’d up, by all means, let the NCHC know how you feel. Last night, I sent out this tweet.
If you weren’t at the arena last night, you can listen to the call for yourself.