Elite League ref wired for sound

Referee Tom Darnell has retired after 22 years (PHOTO: Scott Wiggins)

The Elite League has provided a close-up insight into how the sport is officiated after one of their top officials agreed to be mic’d up during a recent game.

Tom Darnell was wired for sound during Sheffield Steelers’ 3-1 victory against Belfast Giants, and the resulting video shows how the official communicates with the players throughout the game.

“Everything about it is communication,” said Darnell. “You want to communicate with the players, the coaches but also the fans, because that makes it clear to everyone who is in attendance.

“For me, that constant communication with the players is the difference between good officiating and great officiating.

“It’s part of that game experience to have that constant conversation. You have to try and keep your cool and sometimes that is difficult for us as well, but you have to remember why you are there.

“I have got a very simple approach when speaking to players. Provided that conversation is between me and a player, that player can pretty much tell me what he thinks of a call and as long as it stays between us, I have no problem with that.

“It is when it becomes spectacle for everyone else, then it shows he is questioning the integrity of the game and I may look to give a misconduct penalty. But I try and avoid that at all costs.”

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