What a difference a year makes.
I’m talking about the USA Hockey annual referee registration process. You know, the online and in-person marathon that ruins every veteran Level 3’s August.
But things have changed. The process is ever-so-slightly less labor intensive and more in tune to the legitimate needs of veteran zebras.
OK, you readers know that for years OS has taken USA Hockey to task for the time-consuming and one-size-fits-all registration requirements that resulted in more time expended to become a beer league and/or Mite house official than it takes to register as a big-shot litigation attorney with a state bar. Can you say insane?
So here’s the skinny. USA Hockey has cut the open book test from 100 questions to 50 questions, which will be level-specific to “enhance the overall quality of exam’s educational objectives.”
Everyone in unison: “Thank you, OS.”
And there’s more. The dreaded online modules will now be shortened for Levels 3 and 4 returning officials, “greatly reducing their time commitment to complete.”
Yeah, I hear you. You’re too kind, just too kind.
Finally, there’s a tenured status eligibility for three-year Level 3s and 4s, but this requires attendance at an annual symposium, which may not be fiscally or vacation-day practical for most veteran officials. But like I say to a lumberjack who unsuccessfully tries to lift the puck back to me after a stoppage, “I really appreciate the effort.”
Now, as part of OS’s duties to readership in general, and veteran Level 3s in particular, OS has already completed the online module in a single two-hour sitting. And though OS certainly appreciates the movement of USA Hockey to expedite the annual registration process, OS did not find the great time reduction that USA Hockey promised. In fact, at least half of the modules were still mandatory, thus the entire clip had to be viewed before answering the test questions. For the elective modules, sure, an official can now fast-forward through the video and go right to the test questions, which, on an average three-minute video may save about 20 minutes overall. Moreover, you still have to pass the test and many modules, like the one on nutrition, have difficult information that must be viewed in order to pass the respective test. But hey, 20 minutes is still worth something, no?
As of press time, OS was not able to report on the new 50-question open book test format because USA Hockey advises that the test will not be available until the second week in August. But OS looks forward to this updated version and is excited to analyze the level-specific questions for you, the faithful reader.
To conclude, change takes time. But that time is now. So let’s enjoy the USA Hockey registration process facelift.
And for you younger guys, this is a real civics lesson: Never underestimate the power of the press.