Refs 'misunderstood the memo'

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- We want a ref!

Exactly, said IIHF council member and tournament director Frank Gonzalez yesterday.

The guy did everything but call Rafail Kadyrov and Frank Awizus blind mice and present them with white canes and sunglasses.

Gonzalez, with emphasis, effectively flushed the two referees down the drain.

With many members of the media expecting the IIHF member from Spain to try to whitewash the refereeing controversy at the World Junior Championship, Gonzalez came in and said the writers got it right. The refs didn't.

He was as critical of Russian referee Kadyrov and German referee Awizus as Canadian reporters had been the previous two days. Asked, for openers, if there was any reason to believe officiating would improve going forward, Gonzalez said, "I sure hope so.''

Before reporters could come up with the next question in the interview room session, Gonzalez continued.

"I'm pressing for it, like you are. I'm disappointed, like you are.''

He said some of the officials misunderstood the memo.

"Some officials think we're looking for zero tolerance.

"We're not going for it. We're looking to eliminate hooking, holding and interference and call the rest of the game as it should be - giving the games to the player.

"The players don't know what's going to be called next. There are a couple of officials who misunderstood.''

Gonzalez was speaking between intermission of the USA-Switzerland game which featured three first period penalties the night after 14 had been called in a 52-penalty (160 minutes in all) the night before in the Canada-Norway game.

"The referees were reminded today,'' he said. "We'll remind them every day.

"The teams are starting the playoffs and we need them to be where they have to be. This is the turning point. We can't risk most mistakes in future rounds,'' added the Spaniard who played junior hockey in Preston, Ont.

Gonzalez, who was also a referee, last appearing at a C pool world championship in Bulgaria in 1991, said each official was sent a DVD showing the calls and then schooled further when they arrived here.

"Some of the officials didn't understand that.''

Gonzalez said a supervisor of officials goes to the referees room between periods of every game.

He said it is his understanding that happened in both the Canada-Switzerland game and the Canada-Norway game in which the officiating went from bad to worse from period to period. "This is why we're not happy,'' he said.

Gonzalez named Marcus Vinnerborg of Sweden the referee for tonight's Canada-USA game. He called 24 penalties in the USA-Finland game.


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