Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Video Killed the Hockey Goal Judge: My Stint in the WCHA


Video Killed the Hockey Goal Judge: My Stint in the WCHA

For the last two seasons, I have had the privilege of acting as a goal judge for home games for the NCAA Division I women's ice hockey team of The Ohio State University. Here's what it entails:

1. Watch the play.
2. Watch the puck being shot at the net.
3. If the puck completely crosses over the goal line, hit the goal light button and make a bunch spectators happy. And depending on the period, it could either be fans of the home team or the opposing one.
4. If video replay is unable to determine a goal, I get asked via intercom to provide my summary of the play and confirmation of whether or not the puck went in.

My hockey background as a goaltender was the perfect qualification for this position as my home base has always been at either end of the ice. In ironic fashion, I am responsible for highlighting a team's failure to prevent the puck from entering the net, but it does allow me to enjoy the same point of view that I would normally see when I don the pads. Unfortunately, due to changes in technology and the increased usage of video review, my job will be eliminated at the end of the 2012-2013 season and all controls of the goal light transferred to the video replay booth.

Considering that the OSU Ice Rink is one of the oldest venues in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (and the second smallest in the women's division), it doesn't surprise me that we were the last holdouts of the change. In fact, the OSU men's NCAA D1 ice hockey team plays at the much larger Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center where the goal judges are non-existent.

In essence, I get to be one of the last people to witness cool vantage points such as this from warmups.

This season, I also received an additional treat. One game that I was scheduled to goal judge were at the Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. I had been to this venue when I watched Josh Groban in concert on his Awake tour. It was cool to see ice at the arena level; it's a shame that there were less than 100 people in this place when OSU beat Wisconsin 3-1 in my debut at this venue.

Value City Arena is a beautiful venue. Now imagine tens of thousands of screaming Buckeye fans in those seats. I could only dream of playing in rinks like this during my college career.
Here's the visiting team's net from my vantage point. I wasn't too busy at the goal light at this game, but it was enough work to make the home crowd happy.
Me: "Where's the off-ice official's breakroom?" Arena worker: "Take a right at the Badger Bus and continue down the carpet runner." Ah, gotcha.
Looks like OSHA has upped its standards in wake of the impending zombie apocalypse.
It was a privilege to be a part of the off-ice officiating team in this capacity for the last two seasons and I'm going to miss hitting that goal light button. That's progress for you. But at least I can say that I was one of the last ones to do this job.