The CCHA has received approval from the NCAA to experiment with the two-referee, two-linesmen officiating system for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons.
The system will be used in a maximum of 25 games, including non-conference pairings. Each team in the league will play under the system at least once. The schedule for games featuring the four-official format has yet to be determined.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity to try this system that has already been established by the National Hockey League,” said Brian Hart, CCHA Director of Officials. “Our coaching staff has always been receptive to new ideas in officiating as they pertain to the improvement of college hockey. We are proud to be the league that will conduct the experiment and share the information with the other conferences.”
The petition for the system was a direct result of the league’s annual meeting in Naples, Fla., in April, when coaches expressed concern about missed calls behind the play.
The system is the same one currently being used by the NHL in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL phased in the system over the last season using 62 preseason games and 270 regular-season games.
Under the four-man system, both referees may make calls over the entire ice surface. One referee covers deep into the end zone while the “back” referee remains outside the zone, watching play away from the puck. The deep referee’s focus is the play itself. Linesmen will not call penalties as assistant referees do under the current three-man system (one referee-two assistant referees).
“As with all new systems, there will be an adjustment period,” said Hart. “However, we have an excellent officiating staff that is more than capable of executing the system.”