OHL to use replays

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

The OHL is going high-tech.

The video goal judge is being introduced for the conference finals and league championship series.

The system is similar to that used by the NHL where all goals will reviewed in a "war room" at the OHL office in Scarborough.

OHL commissioner David Branch said yesterday the fact that all games will broadcast live on Rogers and Cogeco Cable is allowing the league to use the video goal judge.

"The actual video goal judge will be in the league office and he'll have the necessary communication system with the backup referee at each game who will be in the penalty box area," Branch said.

Officiating supervisor Jim Lever will be the video goal judge for the first four games of each series.

Branch said NHL senior vice-president Colin Campbell assisted in setting up the system. The NHL uses the system in Toronto for regular- season games as well as the playoffs.

"Just like in the NHL, the decision will be made in Toronto to validate each and every goal," Branch said.

The puck can't be dropped until the signal comes from the penalty box, but the league doesn't expect a delay in the game unless a closer look is required.

"We always challenge ourselves how to do things more efficiently and the TV broadcasts provide the opportunity and we have seized it," Branch said.

No additional cameras will be employed, such as the overhead shot or netcams available to the NHL.

Branch said there will be direct contact from the "war room" to the mobile truck at each venue.

In cases where the video is inconclusive but the referee is clear with his decision, the referee's ruling will be final after consultation with the linesmen and/or goal judge.

Referee-in-chief Ted Baker said the video goal judge can also review a play where the puck may have entered the net without being detected.

"That (review) will be initiated through the video goal judge supervisor in Toronto or through the referee on the ice," Baker said.

"We don't anticipate much delay . . . but if there ends up being a delay, we're doing it for the right reason. The bottom line is the referee must have a decision on the ice."

There are no plans to introduce the video goal judge for the regular season as only 60 per cent of those games are telecast.

The OHL also named its officials for the conference finals. Eleven-year veteran Brad Beer of London is among the five referees who will work, his sixth conference finals assignment. The other referees are Mark Hicks, in his fifth conference finals; Terry Hobor, his second, and Ian Smith and Carman Cox, both working their first.

The 10 linesmen are Joe Celestin of London, Mike Bolibruck, Eric Dagenais, Kevin Hastings, Chris Hodgins, Brent Holdsworth, David Koziel, Ryan Lachine, Brett Punchard and Darren Price.


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