Being an on-ice official — particularly in junior hockey — is often a tough, thankless job. Having said that, it was a particularly bad weekend to be a referee in the Ontario Hockey League.
First, we have referee Joe Monette who went on Twitter and added to the pantheon of dumb with the following tweet: "@MONZY25: Soo Saint Marie, two words, Slim Pickens. #noteeth #hicktown #allfaties"
The erudite Monette, who hails from Windsor, Ont., was supposed to work the Greyhounds game on Saturday night against the Oshawa Generals but was apparently called off when the tweet — posted on Friday — came to the attention of both the OHL and Soo Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas.
Shortly after the Sault hit the fan, Monette's Twitter account was set to "protected." Judging by the other MENSA-calibre tweet pictured, that's most likely to our benefit.
Greyhounds general manager Kyle Dubas said he was made aware of the tweet by his staff on Friday night.
On Saturday morning, he received a telephone call from Conrad Hache, director of OHL officials.
“He (Hache) told me the league is aware of what happened and is handling it,” said Dubas.
Asked whether he took offence to the referee’s comments, Dubas said: “It was an unfortunate thing to be said. But I wasn’t too upset about it. We had a hockey game to play. We have other things as an organization to worry about.”
Dubas also said he has confidence the OHL will handle the situation in the appropriate manner. (The Sault Star)
After his trash-talking about the Soo, don't expect to see Monette working any games involving the Hounds anytime soon.
On Saturday night, during a game between the Owen Sound Attack and Guelph Storm, it was the officials who were the ones being abused. BTN's Cam Charron did a good job of breaking down the video in which Attack defenceman Brayden Rose was assessed a Category II penalty for abuse of official.
During the first viewing of this video, it looked like referee Sean Reid hits Guelph's Tyler Bertuzzi while spinning around to separate him from Rose. In a subsequent viewing it looks like Reid might land a short jab on Rose as they're skating away from the pile and off camera. It's open to interpretation, so the bout is in the eye of the beholder.
The only thing for certain is trying to keep two testosterone-fueled teenagers from trying to demolish each other is very hard work. Bertuzzi is listed as 6-foot, 171-pounds and Rose is 5-foot-8, 188-pounds, and it's clear from the video the Attack defenceman isn't about to go quietly once he's pulled away.
Since the OHL has yet to post suspensions for incidents that happened on Jan. 23, there's no telling when they'll get around to deliberating on this one.
And then finally on Sunday, after a 3-2 loss to the Kitchener Rangers, Guelph Storm head coach Scott Walker came out guns blazing, angry over the officiating job done by referees Kendrick Nicholson and Scott Ferguson. The loss, which featured 10 Kitchener power plays to Guelph's six, snapped a seven-game win streak for the Storm.
“It’s too important of a game to have refereeing like that in this league. You’ve got 5,000 people in here and who wants to come and watch those guys ref,” Walker said of referees Kendrick Nicholson and Scott Ferguson.
“You work too hard; you work way too hard for that. First of all, the clock ... then we kill three five-on-threes-against and they call it diving when our guy got two-handed in the male parts,” he said of one particular call that went the other way.
“It’s frustrating, but it's frustrating because the guys worked way too hard and put way too much into it to have refereeing like that.” (The Guelph Mercury)
Being a woman, I can only assume getting "two-handed in the male parts" would hurt. Probably even a lot.
It's also going to hurt when the OHL undoubtedly fines Walker for his comments, though sometimes it's worth it to vent.
Those of you who follow the league will remember that this is not the first time (or even the second time) Scott Ferguson has been called out in the press by a coach.
Back in 2010, during the playoffs, it was Kitchener Rangers head coach Steve Spott who was fined $1,000 (plus tax!) for lamenting when Ferguson — who was an emergency referee —was called into a game against Windsor when starting official Brent Holdsworth left feeling dizzy.
"I'll take a dizzy Brent Holdsworth over a healthy Scott Ferguson anytime," said Spott after the game.
So between the fines, suspensions, and outright stupidity from this weekend it looks like the OHL will have a lot to get through this week.