|USHL.com interviews USHL Referee Tim Mayer|
In 2007-08, the USHL will give you, the fans, the opportunity to ask questions directly to USHL players. Submit your questions to the league and the chosen player will answer them. This installment, we went a different direction and you got the chance to ask questions to USHL official Tim Mayer.
Evan - Indiana
What's it like for you to travel to all of the USHL games? I was wondering how much time you typically spend away from your family and friends to do these games. It must be hard, and I was just wondering what it's really like. Also, do you enjoy your job?
Evan- first of all I love officiating for the USHL. I consider myself to be very lucky and think I have the best job in the world. Officiating in the USHL requires a lot of travel as you can imagine, but I get to see a lot of very neat things and see many cities I would never have visited if I was not officiating. To give you an idea last season I put 47,000 miles on my car. Not all of those miles were for the USHL, but a great deal of them were. The one thing that is tough about officiating is spending a great deal of time away from friends and family. I left for training camp to start the season in late August and moved to a league apartment in Des Moines, Iowa. I was able to spend two days at home for Christmas and I will head back home as soon as my season ends. One of the best things about my job is all of the wonderful people I have met and relationships that I have formed. My roommates in Des Moines and all of my fellow officials are my family and will be lifelong friends.
Brad - Wisconsin
First of all, did you get that melee in Indiana on March 15 straightened out yet? Just kidding. Seriously, several times this year I have seen interference penalties in similar situations where two guys converge on a loose puck dumped in behind the net. To the untrained observer it looks like two guys battling for a loose puck. What is a referee looking for and what actions constitute interference?
Brad- HA! HA! Yes, I finally got that melee in Indianapolis figured out! Interference can be a very gray area penalty to the untrained eye. As officials we are taught to call interference when different situations occur that raise a red flag. Such as a player who impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck. Another situation would be where an unfair advantage is created by an illegal play on a non-puck carrying opponent. Interference is a penalty that we must be consistent in calling so teams know what is acceptable during the course of a game.
Shaun - Iowa
What kinds of feelings do you get before working a USHL game? What is the biggest/most important USHL game you have worked?
Shaun- I get very excited before every USHL game I work. I feel very fortunate every time I lace up my skates. The USHL is such a class organization and I love being on the ice with so many great players and coaches. It's tough to pick the most important game I have ever worked because they all are important. It doesn't matter if it is the first week of the season or a playoff game. I am going to do the best job I can possibly do and leave it all on the ice.
Chad - Iowa
Don't you just love doing games when there are 3,000 + officials in the building? Especially when those officials don't have to take exams to qualify to do games?
Chad- It is funny that you mentioned that because I thought we were the only ones that laugh about that. But it's a part of the game and there would be no game without the support of the fans. The USHL has great fans and I love when the buildings are loud. So you take the good with the bad...but as my boss Scott Brand always says "if they paid for a ticket they can yell as much as they want," and everyone knows who better to ride than the officials?HA! HA!
Chris - Iowa
The officials do have a thankless task as not everyone in the arena will agree with your call, but can I ask, from this season, is there any special situation that stands out in your mind? Anything that was a proud moment for you?
Chris- There are definitely situations from this season that stick out in my mind where I have made a mistake or I looked back on things and wished I would have handled things differently, but that is part of officiating. I have never had a perfect game and probably never will. All you can do is put forth your best effort every night. A proud moment for me is to still be working in the USHL playoffs.
Chuck - Iowa
What is it like to work for USHL Hall of Famer Scott Brand?
Chuck- Working for USHL Hall of Famer Scott Brand is the best. He is a great boss and an even better person. I am extremely lucky to be part of his staff and I would go through a brick wall for him and I know he would do the same for me. Scott is so knowledgeable about the game of hockey and officiating, which is very helpful. Scott does a great job developing officials as well as men. He always wants what's best for all of us (staff) and treats us as his "kids." He has not only helped me become a better official, but he has helped me become a better person. P.S. I hope he reads this...I could use a raise! Love you Scott!
Submitted by many
Which arenas are the toughest to work in? Which fans give you the hardest time? Is there one building in particular that you really enjoy working in?
I would have to say the toughest building to work in is Young Arena in Waterloo. This is because the Black Hawks play on Olympic-size ice...the only team in the league that does. It takes the first couple of minutes to adjust to the larger sheet of ice and get your positioning correct. Another reason is that Young Arena is the loudest building I have ever worked in so you have to yell extra loud to be heard and blow your whistle as hard as you can sometimes. In saying all of this Young Arena is also one of my favorite places to work along with the 95KGGO Arena in Des Moines. Both of these buildings are always packed and loud. There is history involved with both of them and there is no better place to be on a Friday or Saturday night!
Bill - Nebraska
When you are refereeing a game have you ever made a bad call and later on in the night you realized you made a bad call?
Bill- To be perfectly honest, every night there are things you wished you might have done differently or situations that you could have handled better, but no one is perfect. Officiating is the same as playing. You will never have a perfect game. All we can do as officials is give 100% night-in-and-night-out and hope for the best.
Tim - Michigan
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I think that is a great thing because you have such a crazy schedule with all your travel. What keeps you going? You work so many games and travel so much. It has to get old.
Tim- First off, thank you. Two things come to mind when people often ask what keeps me going over the long season. One is my love for the game of hockey and two would be working towards my dream of becoming a National Hockey League referee.
Ash - Michigan
How do you deal with the fans? How does it make you feel when they yell things at you and throw things at you?
Ash- Honestly I don't pay any attention to fans during the game. I really don't hear anything they say or see anything they do. I am there to do a job and that's it. Don't get me wrong, I love when the fans are loud and crazy. It makes things fun!
Dave - Iowa
How do you decide when to call a penalty shot? I thought if you have a full stride on the player chasing you and you get pulled down it's a penalty shot. Why do some refs call it and some don't?
Dave- When calling a penalty shot there are five criteria that we look for - player is beyond his defending zone, player has possession and control of the puck, player has no one but the goalie to beat, player is fouled directly from behind, and there is a loss of a scoring opportunity.
Gavin - Nebraska
In your opinion, who is the best player in the USHL right now?
Gavin- As an official I feel it is best if I do not answer your question. The USHL has so many talented players it would be hard to select one individual.
Craig - Illinois
What do referees eat before a game and how much preparation goes into each assignment? Also, I have just begun officiating hockey, any tips to help me advance?
Craig- I eat the same thing before every game - chicken and pasta. Also I have a granola bar, banana, and a cup of coffee when I get to the rink. I think it's great that you have begun officiating. It is so much fun and I hope you go as far as you want with it. My advice to you would be officiate because you love it, don't try and do too many games because everyone gets burnt out, always give 100%, stay in good shape, have complete knowledge and understanding of the rule book, and realize that you will make mistakes. As my dad always says, "work hard keep your mouth shut and good things will happen." Best of luck to you Craig and welcome to the officiating family!
Bobby - Massachusetts
In your own opinion, should fighting be allowed in the USHL, considering there are little kids watching these players and the fact that fighting is barred in the collegiate ranks?
Bobby- In my opinion, I am glad that fighting is allowed in the USHL. I am a firm believer that it is part of the game. One thing that many people don't know is that sometimes a fight can be a blessing to a referee. It often times calms down a game, which has reached a boiling point. Fights are agreed to as well, so many times everyone on the ice already knows its going to happen and when it's over we go back to playing hockey.
Jim - Michigan
As a long time sports fan of hockey, baseball, basketball and football, I often wonder how long it takes an official to make it to the NHL. I know officials in other sports and how long it takes umpires to make it to the major leagues and how football officials are chosen to work in the NFL. Please tell me how often you work, where you work and how long it will take you before we see you in the NHL.
Jim- I have worked 127 games to this point in my season and hopefully I still have some more to go. Not all of my games were in the USHL, but they all were games scheduled by Scott Brand. I work all over the county, but primarily in the Midwest. This season I have been as far north as Alaska and as far south as Florida. I wish I could answer your question about the NHL, but I cannot. The NHL is my ultimate dream, but it comes down to timing, ability, experience, and many other factors.
Bill - Michigan
Team A pulls its goalie for a delayed penalty on team B. Team A takes a shot that is blocked by a player on team B and goes all the way into the empty net of team A. Is this a goal or not?
Alex - Missouri
What is a typical weekend of work for an official in the USHL?
Alex- I don't know if there is a typical weekend for a USHL official because there are so many factors that play into it. Depending on where we worked during the week and where your games are that weekend. Sometimes we drive to the city we work in the day of the game and sometimes we arrive the day before. Often times we drive to the next city after the game or sometimes we will drive half-way. Also the USHL makes it nice because they have apartments in Des Moines, Chicago, and Omaha. Most of the time we stay in these apartments instead of hotels. This is a very hard question to answer because every weekend is different. Sorry.
Bob - Iowa
What is the hardest part of your job on the ice?
Bob- I can't pinpoint my hardest job on the ice. I will say this, the hardest part of officiating is trying to be perfect every time you are out there. We try and do the best job we can and that is all anyone can ask for.
Mom Heller - Michigan
Hey, If I were to send chocolate chip cookies where would I send them and would you share them with your fellow referees? I am very, very proud of you Tim.
Mom Heller- I would love it if you could send some chocolate chip cookies and yes, I would share them! However I cannot give you my address like this! HA! HA! Love You!
Sarah - Iowa
What do you like best about your job?
Sarah- I love so many things about my job. I love being a part of the game I love, officiating future NHL players, traveling the country, chasing a dream, meeting so many great people, developing relationships that will last a lifetime, being the most hated individual in a certain city on that night, getting to work in front of thousands of people, just to name a few.
Nancy - Nebraska
When do you let players fight and when do you break them up?
Nancy- I don't know how to answer this.
Randy - Indiana
My question concerns the penalty roughing. What do you look for to determine if that is the call? What I have been told is that roughing is used when a penalty has been committed but the infraction does not fall within the definition of any other penalty.
Randy- A roughing penalty constitutes any unnecessary roughness which in the opinion of the referee could or should have been avoided.
Amanda - Nebraska
Do you get a lot of grief when you are a ref a game and does it ever bother you?
Amanda- It depends night to night, building to building, but no, it never bothers me.
Tim - Nebraska
Do you think that during the playoffs it would help to go to a two official system like the NHL?
Tim- I believe it would be beneficial to utilize the two referee system in the USHL playoffs, but in saying that I don't think it is fair to change the system that we use all season long.
Jim - Michigan
My family and I have followed your career since you were back here in Michigan. I've noticed that you have put on quite a bit of muscle mass in the past few years. What type of off-season training regimen to you follow?
Jim- Thank you. Good to hear from some of my fellow Michiganders. When the season comes to an end I will take the rest of the Month of May off. Get away from everything for a little while and rest and recuperate from the eight month season. The rest of the off-season (June, July, August) I follow a strict workout routine. My workouts consist of lifting weights, doing plyometrics, and lots of cardio. I lift my upper body twice a week and my lower body twice a week. I also do plyometrics with some of my friends and do lots of different hockey specific strength training. I will skate about 4 to 5 times per week as well. This summer I will be working with a power skating instructor once a week and do some speed work on my own. I also play shinny, officiate some men's league hockey, and play in some pick-up games. Nothing like being in a hockey rink when its 90 degrees outside!
Kathy - Michigan
I just wanted to know if it is true that you really learned how to skate playing hockey everyday in your basement as a little kid? You must have had a great babysitter that played with you for hours!! I am so proud of all your accomplishments! Miss you!
Kathy- Thank you for playing hockey in the basement with Robby and I all the time. Those were such great times! Miss you too!
Brian - California
I noticed that you aren't one to put your whistle away late in the game. Is this something you are taught, to call it like you see it all 60 minutes, or are you doing this to kind of establish yourself in the league so that teams know that you ref an honest game.
Brian- I guess I had not noticed this. I just try to be consistent throughout the game. If it is a penalty in the first period then it is a penalty in the third period. The rules do not change just because of the time in the game.
Josh - Illinois
I am a 17-year-old official in my 5th year beginning to work higher level games such as Midget AAA and such. How did you first get your job as a referee with the USHL, what level games did you work prior to joining the league?
Josh- Great to hear from another fellow official! Well, I worked the levels of local hockey that you do and then I sent in an application to USA Hockey to attend a USA Hockey Officials Regional Camp. There I met Scott Brand and Dan Monacelli and they invitied me to attend a training camp for the USA Hockey Officials Development Program. I went to that training camp and got hired. That was three years ago. I started as a linesman and then I tried refereeing. I have worked games in eight different junior hockey leagues throughout the three years I have been working in the USA Hockey Officials Development Program. All of the officials who currently work in the USHL are in "the program." So keep doing what you're doing and when you think you are ready contact Scott Brand or USA Hockey and maybe we will see you down the road. Good luck!
June - Minnesota
What is the toughest play that you have had to make a decision on and what did you learn?
June- Too many to name just one. Sorry.
Sam - Minnesota
What does a referees/linesman get paid per game? Does the USHL pay for travel and lodging, etc.?
Sam- Referees get paid $200 dollars per game. Linesmen get paid $125 per game. The USHL pays some gas mileage and for hotels. We get increased pay during the playoffs and can receive bonus pay for amount of games worked during the year.
Austin - Iowa
I was sitting first row, at the blue line at the Waterloo/Cedar Rapids playoff game when Waterloo's goal was waved off in favor of an offside call in the first OT. For the record, I think your crew got that call absolutely right, but would you please explain the USHL's offside rule? Does the offside apply when a player takes the pass inside the blue line, or only when he's inside the line when the pass is made?
Austin- Thank you very much. I thought the linesman got the call correct and after watching the video it confirmed that he did. Those split-second line calls are extremely tough and he nailed it. A player must have control of the puck when receiving the puck before he enters the zone. It is also OK if the pass proceeds him entering the zone. He cannot be in the zone before the puck gets there.
Ryan - Nebraska
I believe that the "no-touch" icing leaves too much judgment involved which leads to hesitation and inconsistent calls. What's your take on this new rule?
Ryan- The new (Scott Brand) icing rule is the best alternative to possession icing. There is judgment involved but that is what officiating is all about.