For the first time ever in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference -- and perhaps for the first time ever in college hockey -- referees wore portable microphones during Saturday night’s exhibition game between UND and the U.S. Under-18 Team in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The officials used the mics to announce penalties to the crowd. Both of the game’s referees -- Brad Shepherd and Sterling Egan -- wore them.
If there were any goal reviews during the game, they also would have explained their calls to the fans. But they didn’t have to review any of the exhibition game's eight goals.
UND beat the U.S. Under-18 Team 6-2.
Referees began wearing microphones and announcing calls to the fans in the NHL a few years ago. UND and Ralph Engelstad Arena employees have been wanting to test out the idea at the college level and came to an agreement with the NCHC to try it during the exhibition.
The NCHC is expected to collect feedback from the teams, officials and fans in the coming week about the experiment.
If feedback is positive, expect further discussions on the topic at the annual coach and administrator meetings in April in Florida. Those discussions would likely center on the feasibility of doing it at all eight NCHC venues, and if that’s impossible, the possibility of doing it at select arenas.
- Erik Martinson (@E_Martinson1) December 30, 2018