EIHL Discipline and DOPS facts and Stats.

Well, didn’t think I’d return to writing anything on here because I have been too busy having a real life, however, tonight  Iwas bored and decided to do some statistical analysis of this years EIHL DOPs output.

All of the info below has been taken from the youtube channel of the EIHL dept of player safety. If there are any inaccuracies, or I have missed 1 or 2 penalties, I apologise, but the trend appears to be quite interesting.

I have excluded the Grimaldi 18 game ban because that would totally skew the numbers, although they are already quite skewed anyway.

60 games worth of suspensions have been handed out so far this season.

7 of those games are to the “big 3” Belfast Nottingham and Sheffield.

That equates to 11.66% of the total game bans dished out, whilst those teams comprise 30% of the league.

43 of the 60 game suspensions have been given to Gardner conference teams, thats 72% to 50% of the league.
Are these teams 22% dirtier than their Erhardt rivals? I’m not convinced!

There were 2 videos at the start of the season explaining cases that they had looked at and kicked out requiring no further action, this was never continued after these initial 2 cases.

As far as individual penalties are concerned:

Checking to the head: A Steelers player received a 1 game ban for this offence, all other teams offenders got multiple games

A fight that escalates, and goes beyond where it should: Erhardt Teams: 1 game. Gardner teams: Multiple games

Despite one of the worst incidents of the above being the one Cardiff were involved in, that saw their bench coach also receive a 1 game ban.

High sticking: 2 incidents of further discipline. Erhardt team: 1 game. Gardner Team: 3 games.

Having watched both videos, I struggle to see why 1 offence merits 2 more games than the other.

No one knows how the DOPs system works, which is a reasonable position to take, as anonymity is beneficial in such a process, however, if there are as alleged 9 individuals, and a random 3 are picked, it does mean there is huge scope for inconsistent results.

The statistical facts above do not lie!


A week in the life……

When I wrote my first piece, a good friend who likes to take the piss a bit asked “whats next, a day in the life?” which got me thinking…. I told him I wanted to do that feature on him as a long standing hockey official, so when his piece comes in, I’ll be sure to share it.

I am, like many of you who are sad/stupid enough to read my ramblings, a multi faceted hockey being. Junior parent, coach, fan, reccy player, team manager etc… I’ve been accused of letting this game take over my life, but it hasn’t of course, because I still have a paying job too….

This has been a busy hockey week which is a good week in my book:


Junior club coaches meeting, 90 mile round trip, 2 hr meeting discussing the upcoming season and our plans for it. Our age group’s head coach asks the loaded question…. “are you busy this week?” to which I answer “no”…

“Thats good, you can put together this weeks practice plan then!”  Excuse me, I’m just the assistant, thought I was just meant to push the pucks to where we needed them for the next drill….



1st Recreational teams meeting: 2 hrs of rules discussions and sorting out the need for new blood in officiating etc etc
Then come home and write up the report from it to feed back to the team



U12s practice, 90 mile round trip to take no 2 son, (the goalie) to practice, no 1 son, the grinder/goon’s practice follows the u12s. Leave home at 4:30pm, return around 10:30pm. Some Comedy artist teacher is expecting homework to be done…..hahahaha


Inpromptu lunch meeting with the reccy teams head coach, between mouthfuls of chinese we put the world to rights, plan for next season and discuss how great it would be if the Clan would put their name behind a proper junior club in Braehead and let us build something unstoppable for the future….

Then I go and do some work in my real job, the one I get paid for…

Come home, have dinner, then sit in the kitchen whilst the good lady watches TV preparing the practice for Saturday that was landed in my lap a few days ago… Great fun, love doing it, but me and the wife barely exchange 2 words while she watches soaps and I listen to Jeremy Weiss…


Reccy club AGM: I’ve done the prep for this a few weeks ago, which is good so tonight will be an admin formality followed by a few beers with some of my favourite people on the planet! Needs to be relatively sensible though, cos theres more hockey tomorrow….


U10s practice: I’m in charge, allegedly, I think its a test! I’ve put together a big practice based around crossovers, shooting, and keeping the goalies busy (i’m biased) so we will see how it goes..

Back home, change then back to another rink for a reccy game against a visiting team from London, I’m coach, bench boss, D man, and water boy for this one, so if it goes wrong, its definitely not my fault! Hope the Clan do well in their game, wish we could have been there.


Clan game. I have a designated driver, enough said!



Officiating part 2…..

So, its not quite as glamorous as some folk imagine, and it certainly doesn’t carry the six figure salary it does in the NHL.

So what are people’s major gripes about the officiating we see?

1. We see the same ref all the time.

2. They are inconsistent.

At lower levels, and at Elite League level the main reason for no 1 is cost. Everyone from junior clubs to Elite league teams want to spend as little as possible on the refereeing as they possibly can, yet then want to complain when the same ref gets allocated their games time after time. Whilst this is understandable for a lot of junior clubs that operate on a hand to mouth basis, I’m not sure the same can be said for the professional level.

The Elite league doesn’t want to spend the extra cash involved sending a Scottish referee to Cardiff to do a game when there’s a local ref already in situ, and likewise they don’t want send the guy who lives in Cardiff to officiate Braehead v Fife Flyers. 

Familiarity breeds contempt and all that……but the stance is, lets spend no more on officiating than the bare minimum, because we’ve just increased the import limit (again) and have another players wages/accommodation/car/wife to pay for.

Then what happens is, the same teams see the same refs all the time, the coach may have a sly dig at the ref to the local press, the ref hears about it, and guess what happens the next time that ref gets allocated one of your games? You might find you get less “benefit of the doubt” than you would have previously…

The Elite league is collectively finding the cash for an extra import this year, and an additional one each year for the next 3 or 4, would this money not have been better spent setting up a team “tax”, paid to the EIHL to collectively improve, and randomise the officiating? That is, pay for their travel, pay for hotels, pay for a refereeing clinic(I know this has actually taken place now, and is a good start).

There’s a shortage of referees, at every level, its really no surprise, given the abuse they get and the lack of support from on high.

There is no quick fix to this, but over 5 or 6 years there could be a solution. Why not start recruiting amongst junior teams? Approach the clubs and ask if any junior players are interested in learning to become referees?
Many of our current officials played as kids, but maybe the governing bodies should be more active in recruiting youngsters into it.

For this to work, I think it would require a fairly pro-active chief referee overseeing everything, would a return of a Nico Toeman type figure be such a bad thing? Paul Stewart, ex NHL ref and player currently oversees KHL officiating, could the UK not look to bring in someone like that for our officials? But then, that would require one governing body instead of 4 or 5….(thats a whole  different story altogether), and would require spending money on something to improve the game collectively, rather than just paying for more imports.

In Scotland, you could have a u14s player work with an experienced official to do u10s games, u16 players to do u12s games, u20s players to do u14s games, with a bit of work, some coaching and training, we could have a whole new generation of on ice officials.

What these new officials would then require though, is coaching and guidance. That means supervision, someone in the stands, maybe a retired official, who can observe and offer help and guidance in order for these guys to improve and reach the standards required.

This would require the EIHL teams to act in the interests of the game as a whole, rather than just whats good for their team, for the next 6 months..

Will it happen? don’t hold your breath…….



Everyone that watches hockey in Scotland usually has a negative comment to make about the standard of our officiating, I know I certainly have!

Before this starts, I have to confess, my Dad was a referee (not a great one from the games I watched) which means I may be more sympathetic to their situation than some with less background knowledge about whats involved.
I’ve watched this game for the last 29 years and a constant has been the criticism of the level of officiating, usually from people who would struggle to stay upright holding onto the boards in a pair of skates.

I’ve seen fussy referees (Nigel Boniface) criticised, for not letting the game flow, and I’ve seen ex players (Mike Rowe, Jamie Craiper) criticised for letting players kill each other before they’d call a penalty. I’ve also heard a referee who shall remain nameless make the comment “you’ve had your 2 hours, the bar is calling”(or words to that effect) when trying to get a game over and done with and the players into the showers!
The fact is, these guys are volunteers, its not a career, its a part time pocket money earner, nothing more, they don’t get paid anywhere near enough for it to be considered a job, its a hobby for most of them, because, like you and I, they love the game and want to be involved in any way they can.

Lets consider whats involved in being a referee in Scotland, and see how it goes…

1. You PAY your registration fee, for the “privilege” of being an official

2. You buy skates (£200-£500) You buy ref shirts, trousers, leg guards, elbow guards, helmet (£250-£350) in order to stay safe on the ice

3. you travel to a refs course (assuming the governing body bother to put one on) to learn how to ply your “trade” (fuel cost £30)

4. You attend your 1st game assignment 45 miles from home (you get paid 40p per mile, which covers servicing costs on your car) and you make some mistakes, and get abuse from the crowd, and every parent in the rink…

5. Thats ok though, because there’s a supervisor in the rink observing your 1st game to help talk you through the positives and areas for improvement…(oh no, wait, thats not actually going to happen, ever!)

In the meantime, the game finishes, you shower, pack up and go home, and your partner/wife asks when you return home, “was it really worth all that aggro for £30?”

To which the usual reply will be, “but I love this game”…..