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Registration for IHOA Officials Opens July 1st

By Ross Forman, 06/19/24, 9:45PM CDT


Summer is here, so of course it’s time to start thinking about the 2024-25 hockey season, specifically, registration for officials, a two-step process (USA Hockey and IHOA).

IHOA registrar Anthony Fiorito, a Level 4 official with 18 years of on-ice experience, skates us through the registration process:

  1.  Register as a referee with USA Hockey (now available), fee assessed. This is different from the player registration, and both are required if you plan to play and officiate.
    1. USA Hockey Registration
    2. Once Registered for USA Hockey, you can search for IHOA seminars through their portal and secure your spot in the seminar before it fills up – you must select register for this seminar on their site to secure your spot.
    3. ***IHOA Seminars will not be loaded until IHOA registration is open on July 1.
  2. Register with IHOA and select a Virtual Seminar after July 1, fee assessed.
    1. IHOA Registration
    2. If this is your first year registering with IHOA, you will need to wait at least 24 hours AFTER you register with USA Hockey for your information to be transferred to the IHOA system.
    3. Be sure to select the exact same seminar for which you registered on the USA Hockey site. 
    4. You can select any seminar but it is encouraged that you attend one led by IHOA. 

Seminars are different for the upcoming season as opposed to past years.

“New this year is that all seminars will be virtual with no in-person requirement,” Fiorito said. “There also will be no open book test this year and USA Hockey has eliminated the online modules that officials previously had to complete. Plus, the deadline to register as an official with USA Hockey is October 31, 2024; previously it was December 31 of the current year.

“USA Hockey also has changed the date of when all requirements must be completed to officiate for this season. That date is now December 31 whereas in the past it had always been at the end of February.”

Last season, there were 1,562 registered hockey officials in Illinois which was a 13 percent increase from the previous season when there were 1,380 officials. Here’s a look at the IHOA officials from the 2023-24 season:

  • 645 Level 1s
  • 334 Level 2s
  • 341 Level 3s
  • 242 Level 4s
  • 861 under age 20
  • 183 in the 20-30 age-range.
  • 119 in the 30-40 age-range.
  • 106 in the 40-50 age-range.
  • 126 in the 50-55 age-range.
  • 167 over age 55.

IHOA’s goal for the 2024-25 season is to get more than 1,600 officials registered in Illinois, and IHOA has a mailing list of 125 who have expressed interest in officiating this upcoming season. 

“We are trying to make the (registration) process as seamless as possible. If someone wants to officiate reaches out, I do my best to guide them in the direction of least resistance,” Fiorito said. “All of the board members do the same. We want to be accessible to help in any way throughout the process.

“As far as retaining current officials goes, we have an incredible mentor program, led by fellow board member Dan Zaloudek. We do everything we can to get as many mentors on the ice as possible to help new officials get adjusted. The number of veteran officials who are willing to donate their time to help young officials is astounding. We couldn’t do the things we do without all the help we receive from all our officials.

“IHOA is trending upwards as far as numbers go over the past few years, but that said, we are still short of officials just like in all other sports. IHOA is trying to make sure that all our officials know that we are here to have their backs if any situation; we have several committees dedicated to investigating incidents and situations throughout the season. And this goes both ways; we also have committees in place that will investigate situations and incidents that involve officials.”

Fiorito added: “Our goal each season is to retain as many officials as possible so we continue to grow as a community. More teams, programs and rinks always means more games. The more officials there are, the better coverage we will have throughout the area.”

Fiorito, 36, who lives in Buffalo Grove, started officiating at age 12. After a few seasons, he took a break during high school and college, then came back to officiating after graduating from college.

He worked about 55 games this past season, mostly at north shore rinks or in the northwest suburbs.

He is entering his third season as IHOA registrar and has been on the IHOA board since 2019.

“I’ve grown up in the Illinois hockey community and have a passion for the sport, as do many of us do in this state. I want to give back and still balance the family life,” said Fiorito who, in 2015, officiated the Combined Division High School State Championship game at the United Center with his brother, Nick.

“He was the one who got me back into officiating, (so) to work that game with him was a very rewarding experience,” said Anthony, who also has skated several other championship games over the years at various levels.

Registration Notes:

  • All new officials must start at Level 1 and you can only achieve one level per season.
  • New officials born in 2007 and earlier will need to take Safesport training, offered through USA Hockey and directly from their website.
  • New officials also need to get a background screening done, also offered through USA Hockey and done directly off their website. 
  • IHOA registration will open on July 1.
  • Illinois officials are not required to take an IHOA seminar, but it is highly recommended.