Nicholson slams refs

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Bob Nicholson wants answers.

The Hockey Canada president was looking forward to an IIHF directorate meeting this morning, where he hoped to get a better understanding of the officiating at the world junior.

"We have to get this much more consistent, not for Team Canada, but for every player in this tournament,"Nicholson said after Canada beat Norway 4-0 last night.

"I sat in the last directorate meeting and the words that were said were exactly what I wanted to hear -- they were going to allow players to hit and call the hooking and the holding. Now the players are confused."

Russian referee Rafail Kadyrov made a mockery of last night's game, calling 160 minutes in a match. The night previous, when Canada beat Switzerland, Frank Awizus of Germany was not much better.

Nicholson had thought officiating was getting better.

"Overall, I have been around since 1990 and I thought the officiating at the IIHF level had been improving. And now we are going into new grounds we have not been in (as far as a crackdown on obstruction)," Nicholson said. "I hope there will be a focus on how they get consistent officiating in the rest of the tournament (at the IIHF meeting).

"It has to be clear to the coaches and the players, because right now I don't think anyone understands the level of play."

If the IIHF is using the world junior tournament as a guinea pig for how it may instruct its officials to call games in the Winter Olympics at Turin in February, Nicholson is not yet concerned.

"I am not looking to the Olympics right now," Nicholson said. "I have something much more important on Dec. 30 and that is the world junior championship. We have to get it right here."

Even the Norwegians slagged the officiating last night.

"It is really embarrassing," Norway's assistant coach Anders Blegeberg said. "I hope whoever wins the tournament, the referee is not in the middle because the first referee is not in the middle because the first days have been terrible."'


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