By Michael Boriero
There is a shortage of experienced hockey referees in the Eastern Townships, as well as across the province, and it is already taking a toll on the region’s largest association, Hockey Sherbrooke, as league officials were forced to cancel two games last weekend.
Ronald Groleau, who manages the association’s referees and scorekeepers, told The Record that there are several factors to the sudden dip in available referees. This biggest one, though, is the fact that league’s in Quebec will require on-ice officials to fill out a tax return.
This is a new mandatory aspect to the job, and one that makes refereeing a lot less appealing to people who do it casually, as a way to make some money in retirement, or trying to earn some extra cash while attending high school. Now they need to fill out a T4-A.
Groleau added that on top of the tax return, which would affect any referee making over $500 in a year, the pandemic also played a role in the referee shortage. Many of them went out to find other jobs, he explained, and they weren’t interested in coming back.
“When it was time to return to hockey they preferred to stay at their current job rather than restarting as a referee. There’s also the pressure aspect from parents, and coaches, which doesn’t really help the situation,” said Groleau.
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