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Hockey referee Ed Flood eager to lend helping hand to young officials in his new role

Ed Flood, a Grand Falls-Windsor native who lives in Corner Brook, is the new referee-in-chief for Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ed Flood, a Grand Falls-Windsor native who lives in Corner Brook, is the new referee-in-chief for Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ed Flood has taken his son Matthew to provincial minor hockey tournaments around the province for the past few years and always made sure he took his referee’s gear with him.

He would make a call to the tournament organizers to let him know he would be attending the event and available to do a few games if needed.

He ended up strapping on the armbands on several occasions at tournaments his son was participating in because the host centres didn’t have enough qualified officials to handle the work.

A Level 5 hockey official, a few years ago Flood went to Baie Verte to see how two officials in that tiny community were progressing and asked them if they would be OK with him conducting an evaluation.

He was somewhat thrown back when the official said he hasn’t been the subject of an evaluation in the 17 years he worked games.

That gave Flood plenty of reason to believe things could be a lot better for officials in this province so he offered himself up for the role of referee-in chief for Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, defeating incumbent Don Kelly in a vote Sunday at the annual general meeting of Hockey NL in Gander.

“I want to try and get more effective and better qualified officials in all the rinks in the province,” Flood said.

Of course, Flood is quick to point out his vision may prove to be a tough task with the geographic landscape of the province with so many rinks spread out around the province. But, he’s hoping he can get extra people involved in certain pockets of the province to give him a hand with evaluations and supervision in order to ease the pain of keeping officials on top of their game.

“That’s the kind of stuff we have to fix to make it all balanced everywhere,” he said.

This marked the third time Flood has put his name in the hat for the volunteer role. About 10 years ago people suggested he get involved with Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador in some capacity and he figured the best fit for him would be the officiating side of the game.

He has been referee-in-chief for the Corner Brook minor hockey system for a number of years, but now he’s going to look at recruiting a fellow official to handle that role but hasn’t given it a lot of thought because he’s only been in the post for a few days.

Looking ahead to another season, Flood is hoping everybody involved in the game, from players to coaches to fans, understand the challenges that come with getting young people to entertain the notion of being an official.

The key, according to Flood, is to put a stop to the growing number of incidents where officials are subject to abuse from players, coaches and fans. Finding a balance between the people doing the abusing and how officials deal with it is the tricky part, said Flood, but the goal is to have every official evaluated and supervised as best as possible to ensure the game is fun for all hands.

“When the official really knows what he’s doing it eases the pain and all the hassles coaches may give them,” he said.

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