In perusing the American Hockey League Official Rule Book as I am inclined to do from time to time, I happened upon a fascinating rule regarding referees and linesmen. This rule, 31.11, under Section 5, Officials, contains a certain stipulation that I have never seen before, or even thought about as a possibility…and it is the subject of this week’s Hockey 101.
Section 5 of the AHL rule book, deals with officials, both referees and linesmen. It discusses equipment, general duties, abuse and more. In Section 5, rule 31 deals with referees exclusively. The last caveat in rule 31 is rule 31.11, Unable to Continue. This goes over the proper protocol when a referee is injured or otherwise and cannot continue his duties in the game. We saw an example of this last season when a referee took a puck to his face and had to leave the ice. In those situations, one of the linesmen takes over the duties of the referee.
The particular portion of this rule that caught my attention, however, had to do with the referees and linesmen being unable to appear at the game. Here is the actual wording from the League:
If, through misadventure or sickness, the Referees and Linesmen appointed are prevented from appearing, the League will make every attempt to find suitable replacement officials, otherwise, the Managers or Coaches of the two Clubs shall agree on Referee(s) and Linesman(men). If they are unable to agree, they shall appoint a player from each side who shall act as Referee and Linesman; the player of the home Club acting as Referee and the player of the visiting Club as Linesman.
It is the final sentence of that rule that jumps off the page. If the teams cannot agree on replacement officials, they will have a home player be the referee and a visiting player be a linesman! And don’t just think this is an AHL rule, the same rule applies in the NHL as well.
As I said, I’ve never seen this happen before, but I imagine it would be something to see.