Letter to Members Regarding Officials

May 17, 2017

To all QCMBL coaches, parents and players,

This message comes to you later than it should but after a few incidences in the past week it is now more important than ever to get our point across. The QCMBL is in a referee crisis and without referees we do not have a league. The QCMBL has not always done a great job of enforcing the bylaws that are in place to protect our referees but that stops now. Our policy states as follows:

  1. All individuals affiliated with the QCMBL shall: (a) Refrain from using foul or negative language (b) Refrain from verbally or physically abusing any game official, participant or spectator, regardless of association or circumstance. (c) Demonstrate courtesy, respect and good sportsmanship towards all game officials, participants and spectators, regardless of association or circumstance. (d) Attempt to develop community spirit and pride in our association, while representing QCMBL and minor lacrosse in the best possible light. (e) Respect all facilities utilized by our Association, as well as any staff of those facilities. (f) Emphasize sportsmanship and fair play while trying to keep the word “FUN” in Lacrosse. (g) Treat the game of Lacrosse with the respect that it deserves. “HONOUR THE GAME” (h) Take the necessary steps to report, in writing, any incidents that may shed bad light on our great game to ensure that they are not repeated.
  2. An individual’s conduct shall be in question when they: (a) Breach any of the above in Section 1.

Our officials are young adults trying their best to learn the game and make the right choices. They do not need grown adults yelling their calls to them or criticizing them for missing a call. They do not need and QCMBL will not tolerate this behavior from our coaches, parents or players. We need our coaches to be the positive voice of reason who teach our players about respecting the game and our officials. We need our coaches and parents to show each other that it is not OK to yell at our officials. I have had numerous refs come to me over the last few years of doing scheduling and say that they do not think they continue to ref because they feel so anxious and stressed going into a game because they know they are going to get yelled at. Please imagine for a moment what you would feel like going to work every day knowing that you are going to be harassed and bullied and made to feel like you do not know what you are doing and then remember that these kids are primarily under 17.

We need to rally together to ensure that our refs feel safe and appreciated at all times. There are no excuses for not following the guidelines as set above. There will be disciplinary action taken when it is not followed with no exceptions.

I also would like to take this opportunity to touch on our mentoring program for refs so that all coaches understand how the process works and that this may mean that there will be a bit more patience needed as our refs are learning. Taryn Larson and Dallan Larson are primarily our mentors. Taryn explains the program as follows:

QCMBL for many years has suffered from a lack of referees and referee retention. At any given night and every given season we are 1-2 refs away from having to cancel games or seek to compensate refs to come in from other cities and associations. Over the years, we have developed and implemented different ideas to try and resolve this issue. One of our most successful solutions has been the referee mentorship program. This involves a senior ref with 10-20 years of lacrosse reffing experience and top-level certification to mentor referees with lesser experience. The mentors go on the floor during the game and help teach the proper rules, procedures, positioning, game management, and conduct to our refs. While they are on the floor, they have the full ability to act as a ref but their primary focus is to mentor and teach the other officials. Their role is much larger than making calls that the young refs might not have seen. They are watching things like which hand the ref uses to signal a reset of the shot clock or delayed penalty, where they are on the floor in relation to the ball, where their eyes are looking to see if they are scanning in the proper zone in relation to their position, are they motioning a hand count when they should be. Other areas the mentors work on are proper penalty calling procedure, faceoff procedure, and goal procedure. In the process of one mentor watching and teaching all of these areas to two or more officials during a game, sometimes they do not see a call on the floor that the coach, players, and fans see. It is very important that we understand as coaches that refs are not perfect and neither are mentors. The mentors are not intended to over-ref our refs, rather teach our young refs so that they have a good experience, gain confidence, and continue to ref for our league in many more seasons to come.

The QCMBL Board values the time that our coaches put in to coach their teams. We value the time the parents put in to allow your kids to play this game that we all love. We are excited about the growth that we continue to see every year in our organization. THIS IS WHY THIS IS SO IMPERATIVE THAT THE ABUSE AND YELLING STOPS. WE NEED OUR REFS.

The QCMBL encourages all coaches and parents to report any abuse and/or harassment of an official to the QCMBL board. There will be a form on our website at www.qcmbl.ca that can be filled out and will go directly to our President, Curtis Appel. All incidences will be taken seriously and investigated.

The Board members will be coming out to all different division games. Please feel free to approach any of us and bring up any concerns you may have regarding this matter.

Let's work together and support each other in this effort!

Honour the Game,

Heather Wenarchuk

Referee Scheduler

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