Hockey referees aren’t in harm’s way as much as hockey players, yet they need the proper equipment to perform optimally on the field. In this article, you will learn the full equipment hockey referees need to do their job on the ice.
Ice hockey referees need a wide range of equipment to be protected and perform well in their duties. The equipment includes a helmet, visor, uniform including a black and white striped jersey and padded referee pants, a finger grip whistle, athletic cup, shin guards, and completely black hockey skates.
The referee outfit is iconic and similar in many sports, yet each sport needs something specially tailored to the sport at hand, especially ice hockey. Now, to understand hockey referees’ uniforms more, stick with me and learn from each one more in-depth.
List of Hockey Referee Equipment
The equipment list for hockey referees isn’t that long, but each piece is essential to do the job as a referee. I’ll explain each item from the head down, starting with the helmet.
As all players on the ice, the referees need to use helmets to protect themselves from the hard case in case of falling, other players, and extremely hard and fast hockey pucks.
Whether you would hit your head on the ice, get hit to the head by a player, or are struck by a puck, it could potentially cause irreversible damage or immense pain at a minimum.
A great example of a classic referee helmet is the Bauer IMS 5.0 Helmet which is all black from a reputable brand. In addition, a Helmet Visor is added to the helmet to protect the facial area from hockey sticks and pucks.
Next, the referee’s uniform consists of the referee’s sweater and a pair of black pants. Unlike in floor or roller hockey, where refs wear short-sleeved jerseys, hockey referees wear slightly thicker long-sleeved sweater uniforms that keep them warmer.
In addition, the pants aren’t usually simply black regular pants rather than Padded Hockey Referee Pants that have extra protection to drastically reduce the impact of pucks that can potentially hit you. They are somewhat similar to hockey pants if they were full length.
The whistle is one of the most important equipment at the hockey referees’ disposal. By blowing the whistle, the referees make it known to everybody, from the players, coaches, fans, and other refs and linemen, that a foul has been made.
Ice hockey is fast-paced, so a whistle hanging from the neck isn’t a good idea. That’s why hockey refs wear Finger Grip Whistles attached to the finger, so they can quickly bring it to their mouth and blow a foul.
4. Athletic Cup
Without a doubt, an athletic cup is more than necessary for both hockey players and referees because a puck shot on the genital area would create unbelievable pain, which would be the least of your worries at that point.
Serious injuries such as testicle tears and crushes could easily happen if an athletic cup weren’t worn, leading to the inability to gain children. Luckily, the referees and players must wear a cup when on ice. Also, it’s common sense as well.
An athletic cup can be worn in many ways, such as a jockstrap or a pocket of compression shorts. I’m a fan of the latter. Shock Doctor Compression Shorts With Athletic Cup are a great example of how you will get the cup to protect your private parts very tightly and securely. In addition, great compression shorts offer extra comfort, reduced chafing, and better performance.
5. Shin Guards
I remember when I was young and was playing recreational hockey with my friends. It was fun until I got it by a powerful shot directly on the shins. Even as kids, that resulted in high pain and a massive bruise. Imagine being a referee and getting hit by a professional player when not wearing shin guards. It would result in a broken shin bone.
Mylec MK Pro Shinguards are a great example of a similarly traditional shin guard used by hockey referees. They won’t only protect the shin bones but knees as well, and they are simple in construction so the refs can maintain maximum mobility.
6. Ice Skates
Completely black hockey skates such as the Botas Largo 571 Pro or any other pair of black skates are worn to maintain the professional look. Too colorful skates for a referee would be quite distracting and different from the classic professional look.
Hockey refs wear standard skates, and there aren’t any specifically designed skates for them, such as for hockey goalies.
Also, the ice skates are the one item that can be invested with the most quality, so money isn’t usually saved to get the highest quality. Protection, durability, and sharp blades must perform well as a hockey official.
Why Do Hockey Referees Wear Orange?
You might have noticed the distinctive orange ribbon on the referee’s arm when watching hockey. The reason for this isn’t clear, so it can be confusing. Luckily, there’s a logical reason, and it isn’t just a decoration.
A standard professional hockey game features four officials, wherefrom two are referees, and two are linesmen. Only the referees wear orange armbands to separate themselves from the linesmen to show their status and to avoid confusion.
Referees have a bigger responsibility than linemen; thus, they need to separate themselves from each other. The difference between referees and linesmen also shows in their salary, where referees earn more than linesmen.
Why Don’t Hockey Referees Wear Gloves?
When you compare hockey players and referees, you see players wearing padded gloves, yet the referees don’t wear gloves or protection on their hands. You might think that the refs would experience cold considering the temperature of the ice rink, so there must be a reason why the referees don’t wear gloves.
Hockey referees won’t wear gloves because there’s no need for them as they are skating so much, their body temperature remains high, and the cold isn’t too much to bear. Also, picking up a hockey puck would be harder with gloves, which aren’t part of the official referee equipment.
That said, there’s really more than one reason why refs won’t wear gloves, but the biggest one is that gloves aren’t listed on the official referee equipment, so you shouldn’t wear anything extra.
In some recreational or non-professional matches, some referees might wear gloves. However, most decides not to as the aggressive skating keeps the body temperature high, so their hands will be kept warm from the circulating blood.
Also, picking up hockey pucks and accurately throwing them on face-offs wouldn’t be optimal as it is without any extra material on the way.
The world of hockey referees is certainly interesting, and it’s important to understand what they wear to understand hockey better. Oh, and if you’re a starting referee, I suggest you don’t forget any listed items as they are of great importance.