As I am sure you are all aware by now (or at least you should be), the Big Ten Hockey Conference is now official. WIth the conference being official, that means that at some point in the next few years, the conference is going to be in need of some officials.
As anyone who follows the hockey team knows, the officiating in our current conference, the CCHA, is abysmal. Even the most basic of call are regularly blown. Just two weekends ago against Bowling Green, they blew the whistle for icing even though the Bowling Green goalie had come out to play the puck (to their credit, they did try to aleviate this one by keeping the face-off in their end when they realized what they had done).
CCHA officials also have had a tendency to blow crucial calls in close games as well. We've been screwed out of countless goals and countless games over the years. Just this last weekend they errantly called off an empty-net goal at the end of the game. Fortunately, it didn't end up mattering, but it was completely possible that the ref's blowing that call could have led to ND tying it up and sending it to overtime. I can't even begin to describe my emotions if that would have happened.
Anyway, the real point here is that I fear the Big Ten is, naturally, going to think the best place to go looking for college hockey officials is to poach them from the CCHA and WCHA. I expect they'll be paying a lot better, so I'm sure anybody they offer would take it. I believe this would be a huge mistake on thier part and I think the Big Ten should make an effort to find and appropriately train it's own referees from the outside. This could be retired NHL referees, or reputable referees from junior hockey, or some place else.
I understand that this isn't going to mean there are not going to be blown calls from time to time, nor does it necessarily mean there will be any improvement at all for that matter. I think, however, that it would be a mistake not to try and get an improvement by getting new guys in then to reward CCHA refs (And possible WCHA referees whom Wisconsin and Minnesota fans might be able to vouch against) for the years of mind-numbing officiating they've committed with effectively a promotion. Of course I'm partial to our woes, but if they're screwing our games up on a regular basis, you better believe they're screweing up everyone else's to.
I am encouraging everyone who is reading this thread and follows Michigan Hockey to write a letter, e-mail, or whaever to the Big Ten expressing your distaste for our officials and letting it be known to them that should seek officials from someplace different than the current ranks. While you're at it, I recommend mentioning the absurdity of the CCHA video review rules about the above-goal camera. One way or another, I don't want to see guys like Shegos ever again when we go to the Big Ten, but I fear the Big Ten is going to naturally gravitate that way if they don't hear enough from people like us. If anyone knows where fans of our Big Ten hockey breathern like to hang out on the internet, feel free to pass it along. It'll help, I'm sure, if Minny, Wisky, MSU, and OSU are letting the conference know how they feel about their quality of officiating.
Happy Letter Writing. Feel free to post what you send.