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News: August 2008

The Atlantic District Officiating Development Camp Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary

One of the unique opportunities that a few up-and-coming Atlantic District officials get each year is to participate in The Atlantic District Officiating Development Camp. This is a program that was launched in June 2004 by NHL Referee Ian Walsh. Ian grew up in the Atlantic District Officiating Program, lives in Philadelphia, and has been a member of the Atlantic District and USA Hockey instructional staffs for a long time.

Ian says that the goal of the Atlantic District Officiating Development Camp is simply, "to get male and female officials ready for USA Hockey Eastern Regional Camp."

Following the Example Set By Minnesota

The idea for the development camp came to Ian six seasons ago when he was working on the staff of the USA Hockey Western Regional Camp. At that camp, he was impressed with how well the officials from Minnesota performed. Ian said.

It wasn't like the kids from Minnesota were more physically talented than others, they were just well prepared. They came to camp in shape. {The men} were always clean shaven. They were never late for class. They did well on their runs. They all made a great first impression.

Participants in regional camps typically only get to attend once. Lots of officials have arrived in the past with great potential and some significant local experience, but little knowledge of what to expect at the camp. The officials from Minnesota all looked like they knew what to expect and how to behave in every part of the program-- as if they had been there before.

Ian did some investigation and found out that all of the officials nominated by the Minnesota District attended a pre-camp run by senior instructors from that area. The specific goal of this pre-camp was to inform Regional Camp nominees of what to expect, how to behave, and how to prepare to do well at the Western Regional Camp if they were selected.

Getting the Camp Off the Ground

Ian approached Atlantic District Referee-in-Chief Tony Mariconda with the idea of organizing a similar camp for Atlantic District officials, and Tony enthusiastically approved it. Ian worked on the camp concept during the 2003-2004 season and held the first Atlantic District Officiating Development Camp in June 2004. This year marked the fifth anniversary.

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