Justin-st-pierre teaching to young referee

What equipment does a beginner hockey referee need?

Have you just completed your first hockey referee seminar and wondering what to wear or bring with you on the ice? Like a carpenter with his belt and toolbox, a referee must also have suitable work clothes and tools. In this article, we'll go into everything a new ice hockey official needs before hitting the ice, as well as useful accessories.

A beginner hockey referee must have the following five items:
  1. A referee sweater
  2. A pair of black pants
  3. A whistle
  4. A black helmet
  5. A visor
These are the pieces of equipment that are essential to the profession of a referee. Of course, we ruled out the skates since that’s obvious. We will now go into each of them and answer the questions we hear most often in relation to them.

The referee sweater

In the case of floor hockey, Dek hockey or roller hockey, you will probably be wearing a striped short-sleeved jersey. In this case, ice hockey referees wear striped long-sleeved sweater.

There are several brands of sweaters at different price ranges, which one to choose?

The design of the sweaters is quite similar, with some small features. The biggest differences between each of them are the quality of the fabric and its thickness. Generally, the higher the price, the higher the quality of the fabric and the more durable it will be. However, some prefer the cheaper sweaters because they are generally thinner. A slightly thinner fabric allows for better ventilation and therefore to keep you cooler on the ice. Those who find themselves being cold on the ice will prefer thicker sweaters.

A pair of black pants

In order to maintain uniformity among officials, you must wear a black trouser. The referee pants for beginners are retailed at a reasonable price and offer the following features: large pockets on the side and at the back to put your accessories, a belt, buttons for the suspenders (optional), a leg width large enough to accommodate the shin pads and a seam at the front of the leg for a professional look. You can always wear a pair of clean black pants that you have at home to do your first games.

If I am new, do I have to buy the pants with the integrated protections?

It's not an obligation. Most of the new referees will be officiating Novice and Atom games. It is not mandatory to have thigh / hip protection for these categories since you probably will not get a slap shot to the leg at 90 miles per hour. If, on the other hand, you plan to climb the ladder quickly, we recommend that you wear either a protective girdle under your pants or pants with integrated protections.

A whistle

The whistle is arguably the most important piece of equipment. It would be weird to see a referee yelling to stop the game :).

What is the best whistle for a beginner hockey referee?

There are two brands of whistle for hockey referees : Fox40 and Acme. We generally recommend Fox40's Superforce CMG whistle. It’s the cheapest and it gets the job done, as they say. On the other hand, if you want a better quality whistle that will last you several years, for a few dollars more, we suggest the Acme 477 / 58.5 whistle.

A black helmet

Again, for the sake of compliance and neutrality, referees wear black helmets. New or used, a black helmet that you find comfortable will do just fine.

A visor

Hockey Canada requires the visor to be CSA certified, for insurance purposes.  Otherwise, you can wear the one that suits you best. The CSA certification is not mandatory in the US. 


Useful accessories


“Shin-tights”, compression sleeves
When you go to work in the world of officiating, you will have to wear shin tights. These have several uses: to prevent the pants from getting caught up at the back your skates, to hide the laces, to keep the shin guards in place and to have a uniform leg when the pants are lifted while skating.

White laces
Referees wear all-white laces on the skates. Again, this allows for consistency and a neat appearance.


There you go, you are now ready to jump on the ice and have a great and long career! :)

Link to our kits for beginner referees: KITS 

Do not hesitate to contact us or chat with us on the live chat, we will guide you and answer your questions!

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