While it appears NFL referees could be back to work shortly, NHL officials will reportedly have to wait until the hockey lockout ends before they can get back on the ice.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the National Hockey League Officials Association is asking its members to refrain from working in other leagues or over in Europe.
Apparently the NHLOA doesn’t want to take jobs away from non-NHL referees and, in addition, wants its members to stay healthy and be ready to go once the lockout ends.
It’s a big ask for NHL referees and linesmen, as they don’t get paid during a players lockout.
During the 2004-05 work stoppage that canceled the entire hockey season, some officials took day jobs to help pay the bills.
For example, Dave Jackson became a substitute teacher.
From Sports Illustrated (Oct. 18, 2004):
In the past month he has monitored a high school science test, explained to seventh- and eighth-graders that Indonesia can’t be found in the Caribbean, broken up a scuffle between eighth-graders, mopped up a puddle left by a nervous kindergartner, reffed fourth-grade floor hockey, handed out detention and coached handball.
However, it’s unlikely every referee will be able to find temporary work during the lockout.
As Jackson said at the time: “It’s not like you can go to a company, expect them to train you and leave three months later, or whenever the NHL season starts.”