An ice hockey federation in Scandinavia is working to ensure greater protection for its young referees, utilising an initiative launched by Kent FA.
The Norges Ishockey Forbund, the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation, has replicated Kent FA’s under-18 armband initiative, which sees young referees wear armbands to remind all involved that the referees are protected by child safeguarding policies.
Launched last year, Kent FA’s armband for under-18 referees initiative is part of The FA’s Respect campaign. Approximately 500 referees aged 17 or under within Kent have now received the yellow armbands, which are worn on matchdays.
To date, Kent FA has seen a reduction in reported abuse towards referees, whilst initial feedback has indicated that young referees now feel more confident in reporting any incidents of abuse experienced.
Following a successful launch, the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation – keen on protecting their own young referees – searched for any initiatives that worked to reduce abuse directed towards officials under the age of 18.
Through that search, the federation found out about Kent FA’s initiative and quickly made contact with Kent FA’s Referee Development Officer, Nick Dunn, to find out more.
Since then, the Norwegian Ice Hockey Federation has seen their own replica of the initiative approved by the federation’s board, with the new armbands set to be utilised during the 2020/21 ice hockey season.
Jaye Smith, Referee in Chief and Supervisor of Young Referees at Elite Level for Norges Ishockey Forbund, said: “Ice hockey is a contact sport and emotions run high. Kent FA explained the thought behind the armbands for young referees in a bid to improve respect from players, coaches and parents. The armbands just remind people that they are speaking to a young person who is making 250+ decisions in every game.”
Nick Dunn, Referee Development Officer at Kent FA, said: “We are proud to be supporting Norges Ishockey Forbund in installing this initiative within their game. The idea of the yellow armband is to help identify those referees who are under the age of 18 and ensure they are supported. The concept was set up so that managers, coaches, parents and spectators think twice about making abusive or insulting comments to young referees, who are working hard to be the best officials they can be.”
For more information on refereeing in Kent, or the armband for under-18 referees initiative, please contact Nick Dunn via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01622 791850.