At a Pacific Coliseum press conference between the first and second periods of Friday’s USA-Switzerland game, IIHF tournament chairman and council member Frank Gonzalez acknowledged the concerns about officiating in some Preliminary Round games and emphasized that the problems are being addressed and solved.
“We’ve had problems with a couple of officials, I would say, that have misunderstood what we want, perhaps due to a language problem,” said Gonzalez. “But I think we are all going forward to ensure that everyone has a similarity on the ice. We want to leave the game to the players and have the officials make the calls that they have to make. We want to see a hockey game that the spectators can enjoy and the players can enjoy, and have a good championship. That’s all there is to it.”
Gonzalez said the goal is to not to achieve an unreachable target of “zero tolerance,” but to penalize obstruction and stick fouls along the lines of the NHL standard. He said officials are being given regular reminders about their performance and meeting with referee supervisors for further clarification, between periods, after games, and at group meetings. He also mentioned that officials received a DVD outlining what was expected of them a month in advance, and when they arrived here, the referee supervisors met with them to explain exactly what was wanted.
“By the time we start the playoffs, they’ll be where they have to be, just like they have been at past championships where I’ve been chairman,” said Gonzalez.