During the past weekend I noticed three situations; the first two relate to communications with coaches that result in the wrong message being sent to the arena. The third situation is running the clock with 10 minutes left in a mercy rule game.
1a) First, talking to coaches. During a game early in the weekend, there was a game scored 10-2 with about 9 minutes left in the third period. During this final 9 minutes, the winning team called the referee over 3 times which (while there may have been good reason in the eyes of the coach or referee) increased the annoyance of the crowd making the mood of the crowd more negative.
1b) Second situation in another game. A coach calls the referee over. The referee stands about 5 feet from the bench while the coach is standing on the bench. The arena is loud so both have to yell. From the spectator perspective, it appeared that the referee and the coach were having a screaming match. After the game, the official told me that the conversation was very respectful. Unfortunately, the mood of the arena can change when it looks like the referee and coach are screaming at each other.
2) Finally, in a blow out, the officials ran the clock with more than 5 minutes left because both benches agreed it was for the best.
What we Learned
Let's deal with these one at a time.
1a) Rather than going to the bench 3 times, the referee could ask for captains in the future or the referee could tell the coach "in the interest of game flow, this is the last time I am going to come over here. Ultimately, there are times to talk to the bench, however, consider how talking to the winning bench 3 times in the last 10 minutes looks...and how it can effect the mood of the arena.
1b) The perceived yelling match occurred because the referee and the coach were too far away from each other. So, when you arrive at a bench ask the coach to step down and bring yourself as close as possible/you feel comfortable. This will allow you to talk as normally as possible limiting the opportunity for the conversation to look like a yelling match.
2a) The situation with running the clock with more than 5 minutes left has two parts to it. First, there is no rule that allows you to run the clock with more than 5 minutes left. So, you cannot do this. However, if you decide that you are going to run the clock early understand that you do not have a rule to back you up and you open up the possibility of the game being protested. Therefore, as the official in 2a did, make sure both benches agree. Again, I do not encourage you to run the clock early as you do not have a rule to do so...but...if you choose to ignore the lack of a rule make sure both benches agree.
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