Officiating Program

Get started as a hockey official


Level System

If you are interested in becoming a hockey official, this is for you! It will provide all the information needed to get your officiating career started.

The level system, Level I through Level VI, is the foundation for the training and development of officials across Canada. Hockey Canada has categorized the hockey played in Canada into four basic streams, each with different priorities. They include:

  • Initiation
  • Recreational
  • Competitive
  • Program of Excellence


The Hockey Canada Officiating Program has opportunities for everyone from the Initiation at Level I, through to the Program of Excellence at Levels V and VI.

Select a level and start officiating!

LEVEL I
Purpose To prepare a young or new official to officiate minor hockey.
LEVEL II
Purpose To further enhance the training and skills of minor hockey officials.
LEVEL III
Purpose To prepare officials capable of refereeing minor hockey playoffs (league and regional) and women’s national championships, or being a linesperson in Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, Senior and U15 or U18 regional championships.
LEVEL IV
Purpose To prepare officials capable of refereeing Senior, Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, minor hockey regional and national championships, women’s national championships and designated IIHF competitions, or being a linesperson in Major Junior, Junior A, senior, U SPORTS, regional playoffs and IIHF competitions.
LEVEL V
Purpose To prepare officials to referee Major Junior, Junior A, Senior, U SPORTS and regional playoffs.
LEVEL VI
Purpose To prepare officials capable of refereeing at national championships and designated IIHF competitions (i.e. Memorial Cup, Centennial Cup, Allan Cup, David Johnston University Cup, IIHF world championships, Olympic Winter Games, FISU Games).

Certification Procedures

Certification at all levels, except Level I, is a two-part process involving clinical and practical assessment. The official must attend all clinic sessions and obtain the minimum mark on the examination.

The practical assessment portion is the most difficult to apply consistently across the entire program. It is strongly recommended that all supervisors be provided with a copy of the Hockey Canada Officiating Procedures Manual to ensure a consistent approach to this task.

Certification is not complete until both phases – clinical and practical – have been completed.

General Certification Rules:

Certification at any level with the Hockey Canada Officiating Program does not make an official automatically eligible for entry to the next level (except Level I). Demonstration of ability or potential ability is necessary to move to the next level.

Being certified at any one level does not necessarily mean an official will be able to officiate all categories of hockey defined at that level. Conversely, an official does not have to officiate all categories of hockey at a certain level in order to gain certification at that level.

Where it has been determined (through supervision) that an official is no longer able to officiate at a certain level, they will be certified at a new, lower level in line with their present ability.

An individual must be at least 16 years old to be certified at Level II or higher.

Re-Certification Procedures

Once certified, it is essential that an official continues to update and be completely familiar with new rule interpretations and officiating techniques.

To maintain their present level of certification, an official must attend a full Hockey Canada officiating program clinic and write a national examination every year, earning apassing mark. An open-book exam is not acceptable for re-certification purposes.

Should an official fail the Level IV, V or VI examination, the Member shall be authorized to allow them to write a supplementary examination during the current season. The second exam shall be different from the first and shall originate from the Hockey Canada head office. Only those officials whose supplementary examinations are successful and sent to the Hockey Canada head office shall be eligible to officiate regional playoffs.

An official will not be eligible to advance more than one level of the Hockey Canada officiating program per season, except for Levels I and II. Certification at the higher level cannot be granted until one year has passed.

When an official has not officiated for one season or more, they must attend a full Hockey Canada Officiating Program clinic at the appropriate level and successfully complete a practical assessment.

When a Level VI official has not officiated for a season or more and wants to regain Level VI status, they must first obtain Level V status within the Member. They may then apply to the Hockey Canada manager of officiating for Level VI certification through their Member referee-In-chief, which requires the successful completion of the Level VI examination and an on-ice evaluation by a national supervisor.

Contact a Member referee-in-chief

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