By Jeremy Ellis
It was roughly 10:45 this morning when it happened. The seal was broken and the first of what is sure to be many more exciting goals was scored in the Pro Division. Sixteen games within the NARCh Pro division litter the schedule here today. Yours truly gets primo seats for two of them as I get to referee the best players in the world later this afternoon.
With the opportunity to officiate the D1 Final yesterday, it will be back-to-back days of excitement for me. As you may have read in Daryn’s blogs yesterday, the action was non-stop. Throughout the day, teams have stepped up the intensity, and the play has been both fluid and fierce. As a group, the officials have allowed the teams to up the physical play and it is evident with the frequency of sounds coming from the rink. Both the coaches and players have expressed their gratitude for making sure the players decide the game. While it is common knowledge that this event is the best in Roller Hockey Talent in the world, we like to believe that we present the best officials to manage that talent.
As the speed increases, so does the chance of a referee getting in the way. While keeping one eye on players away from the play and the other on the puck carrier, we also have to anticipate the flow of action to make sure we do not interfere with the play. Roller hockey is unique in that way with the propensity to play the puck back in regroup. A blue line in ice hockey eliminates any possibility of doing so in that arena. Most of our officials have high level ice hockey experience to go along with our NARCh background. As evidenced in the great cover photo shot by Daryn yesterday, referee Tom Chmielewski (ECHL Official) goes air-born to avoid the oncoming players, sometime a necessary evasive maneuver.
Not all of the excitement takes place with the D1 and Pro. Today culminates the end of the Squirt and Bantam platinum divisions with the respective championship games taking place at 4:20 and 5:50pm. The bantam division is always exciting as these players are on the cusp of really getting stronger and faster. While D1 is definitely top speed, Bantam is right up there as these kids can fly. Squirt will be exciting as well as this division has been represented by locations all over the map.
The Girls division gets started later today as well as Pee Wee Platinum playoffs. Junior division is in full stride and tomorrow we introduce a couple more adult divisions to the mix. There is always something new to check out and freshen up the mix.
The last event I will mention is the fan favorite, the NARCh Pro Skills competition. Always an exciting interlude, these guys are known to spice it up and give the fans a show. From breaking out the ball like Osterkamp did here 2 years ago, to the assortment of costumes we have seen, it is sure to have a little flair for every fan. That takes place today at 7:30pm tonight on Rink 1. We are making a day of it here at the rink so keep us company and stop by. You may have to pay for the food, but the excitement; that’s on us!