The IIHF has put cameras on their referees since 2017 to show the speed, impact, confusion, and ridiculousness of the action from ice-level. It lets the audience hear the warnings referees give, wince at the eardrum-blasting whistles, and glory in the arguments (and, occasionally, compliments) from the players.
“I think it’s a good thing to have,” said IIHF Swedish referee Linus Ohlund in 2017 when the cameras were introduced. “Show the audience the view from our perspective.”
But it’s not only informative–it’s also entertaining. Here are the best moments so far from the 2019 World Championship.
Best moments: Ben O’Connor from Great Britain sincerely telling a referee “You guys are really good, good job today,” to which the ref replied, “Thank you, I appreciate it.” Great Britain truly is the feel-good story of the tournament.
Best moments: The referee adjusting someone’s sweater, complimenting a goalie on having the last name “whistle,” delivering water bottles, and getting his shoelaces trimmed.
For a blast from the past here’s a look at previous years’ tournaments.
There’s only one video from 2016, but it offers an inside look on how the referees prepare for the games–their warm-ups, strategizing, and rituals. (So now, when we shout “ref you suck,” we can do so with more understanding and empathy. Ugh.)
Also–just putting this out there–“The Referee” should absolutely be a dance move. Sorry, “The Sprinkler” arm wave: you’ve been replaced.
Headline photo: IIHF
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