Today Hockey Ref Shop is introducing a new monthly program that will recognize officials from across the world. Every month, officials are encouraged to apply for a chance to become "Official Of The Month". The Official Of The Month will be featured on our Referee's Crease blog and will also receive a free gift from Hockey Ref Shop.
Our first ever November Official Of The Month is Nick Schirripa
Name: Nick Schirripa
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
We interviewed Nick to learn more about him and his background in officiating.
Eric: When and why did you start officiating?
Nick: I started officiating in 1995, when I was 21 years old, as a way to stay involved in hockey. My competitive playing career was over, and officiating afforded me the opportunity to stay in the game at a competitive level.
Eric: What do you do outside of officiating? (trick question)
Nick: My sons also are officials and play varsity hockey for their high school. If I’m not on the ice, I’m watching them on the ice. Hockey is a family affair.
Eric: What is your greatest memory as an official?
Nick: There are too many to choose just one. Working with players and coaches to make the game as great as it can be is my favorite part of the job, and there have been several moments in the past 22 years that really make all the effort worthwhile.
Eric: What are your goals with officiating?
Nick: When I started, I wanted to work in the American and National leagues. Now, I just want to stay upright and out of the way. My goals include helping young officials learn the craft, fostering a positive and fun environment for the game and its participants, and officiating for as long as I’m able to offer something constructive to the sport.
Eric: Why do you think others should try officiating?
Nick: It’s an entirely new perspective on the game. For younger officials, it’s a chance to improve your skating, increase your hockey IQ and make a little money at the same time. There are good opportunities for officials with ambition, dedication and talent. Parents can become officials to learn more about the game, participate with their kids and play an
active, positive role in developing the sport at a grassroots level.
Eric: What type of advice would you give to a new official during their first season?
Nick: Choose to be awesome! Officiating is a craft, and there is always more to learn. Use constructive feedback from more experienced officials to improve your abilities.
Eric: Please share a couple pro tips or words of wisdom.
Nick: Know the rules, call the rules. No one can argue with the book. Don’t get creative with penalties. Always work hard. Every team deserves your best effort every game. Hustle to the best position to give yourself the best chance to make the best call. Our job isn’t to call every penalty; it’s to call the right penalty.
Eric: Do you have any comments about Hockey Ref Shop?
Nick: I absolutely love Hockey Ref Shop. I discovered Hockey Ref Shop on social media, visited the website and immediately became a fan of the selection and concept. A site/store designed by officials, for officials. Not only are the gear options great (and always improving), but the customer service is top shelf.
Eric: Thank you for the kind words and I appreciate your interview! Congratulations on becoming the first Official Of The Month in history.
Nick: Thanks for the opportunity, Eric.
For any prospective officials in the Kalamazoo area, please visit KIHOA.com for more information on becoming a referee.
If you would like to submit yourself or nominate a friend for the December Official Of The Month please send us a short email on why you (or your friend) should be selected. Our email is HockeyRefShop@gmail.com