New level 1 officials that do not have any prior USA Hockey officiating experience will be required to participate in IHONC's mentor program. New officials are required to be certified by USA Hockey and must have and wear required officiating uniform while working any game. Require uniform includes
- Referee shirt with USA Hockey crest affixed
- Referee black pants
- Hockey skates with white clean laces
- Black helmet with face shield
- Metal finger whistle
- Protective equipment (girdle with cup, elbow pad and shin pads)
- Shin tights
Mentor games are assigned by the IHONC Commissioner in the Arbiter based upon the official's availability recorded in the Arbiter. Mentor games are limited to Girls or Boys U10/Squirt B and U10/Squirt C game levels. An official will be required to participate working mentor games until such time as the official demonstrates achieving the following skills:
- Skating - the ability to skate forwards and backwards capable of keeping up with the pace of the assigned game level
- Positioning - maintaining and/or moving to appropriate officiating position on the ice
- Judgment - exercising adequate judgment in order to officiate the game with respect to determining off-sides, icing and penalty infractions
- Rule Knowledge - understanding USA Hockey Rules (eg: face off locations, penalty infractions, penalty times)
- Signals - demonstrating ability to execute proper officiating signals crisply and with confidence
- Communications - ability to work and communicate with your officiating partner, scorekeeper, and timekeeper; communicating effectively and confidently with coaches and players
A mentor game involves an experienced official (the mentor) working with the new official (mentee) before, during and after the assigned game. Both mentor and mentee should arrive at the rink a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the game's start time. This should allow the mentor to review key officiating aspects of the game and to review the mentee's prior mentor feedback regarding the mentee's improvement opportunities. A mentor game will be officiated in the following manner:
- There will be 3 officials assigned to the game.
- The mentor will introduce the mentee to both coaches during pre game warm-ups advising that the game will be a "mentor" game.
- At the start of the game, the mentee will shadow the mentor during play (keeping about 5' feet behind the mentor). The non mentored official (neither the mentor nor the mentee) will conduct the opening face off. The mentor will control calling the game with the other non mentored official for the first 5 minutes of the period in order to allow the mentee to understand and move with the flow of play to proper officiating positions.
- At a stoppage of play, the mentor and mentee will swap roles, with the mentee now in control of calling the game with the other non mentored official, and the mentor shadowing the mentee. The mentor will only blow play down if the mentee misses a call the is obvious to everyone, otherwise, the mentor will use the mentee's non call as a teaching opportunity after the end of the period and/or after the game. The mentor will be providing verbal instructions to the mentee during play as needed.
- If the mentee demonstrates achieving the requisite officiating skills after the end of the 2nd period, the mentor may elect to step off the ice to allow the mentee to officiate the 3rd period without a mentor.
- At the end of the game, the mentor will provide feedback to the mentee on areas of their game that were successful, and those areas that need improvement. The mentor will advise whether additional mentor games will be needed, and if not the mentor will communicate with IHONC's Commissioner so that the official's status can updated.
- If the new official graduates from the mentor program, and the new official has future mentor games, the Commissioner will change the game to a standard 2 man officiating system keeping the new official on the game and removing the mentor from the game.
- New officials are paid $10 for working a mentor game. Once the new official graduates from the mentor program, they will earn the standard rate for working a 2 man officiating system. Therefore, it is incumbent on the new official to develop the requisite skill as quickly as possible, so study the Rule Book and Basic Manual. We also strongly encourage all new officials to attend IHONC's monthly meeting for the 6 PM level 1 and 2 training sessions.
Alternative training may be offered by IHONC to new officials in the mentor program. Alternative training will be only offered based upon availability of a training facility (rink), trainers, and players. The alternative training would involved a CHC and/or USA Hockey sanctioned scrimmage between U10 players where the mentee works the scrimmage with a mentor observing on the ice in game simulation mode for approximately 10 minutes of play, after which the mentee is provide off ice feedback to include a video review of the mentee's performance. If deemed appropriate by the trainers, the mentee may be graduated out of the mentor program and available to work regular game assignments based on the trainer's recommendation of the level(s) the new official is capable or working.
New officials in the mentor program will also be eligible to work U8/Mite cross ice games. The new official will have been sent a link to the cross ice officiating guide document by the Commissioner with their "Welcome to IHONC" email. Officials working cross ice U8/Mite cross ice games will be paid the standard game rate for U8 games.