Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interview with Scott Brand

I decided to step back into the blogging scene and I am starting back with a few interviews. The first interview I will be doing is with the USHL Director of Officiating, Scott Brand.

Which referees have promoted following last season?
Tom Chmielewski, Don Jablonski, Andy Thackaberry, Jake Brenk, Joe Demizio, Steve Walsh and Brett Martin have all accepted full-time positions with the ECHL. Zac Blazic, Peter Tarnaris, Kyle DeMaggion, John McAfee and Shaun Morgan have all joined the CHL.

Describe what a USHL referee must do in order to be a referee in this league.
Conquer a lower level junior league like the NAHL or AJHL, or finish in the top 3 at the USA Hockey National Camp. Then come to our 6 day training camp held over Labor Day weekend. They are physically tested and lots of mental preparation, plus rule exams.

Will there be any new rules enforced this season and have there been any discussions on whether or not to change any rules?
Biggest Rule change is player can no longer deliberately remove their helmet prior to a fight, so no more dancing around and going to center ice. Less "staging of a fight." Shoot outs will only be 3 players deep now then sudden death shooter if they are tied after 3- same as the NHL. We added the penalty "head contact" for a player who targets another head with his arm, shoulder or elbow. We have also put tougher rules in place to deal with players who embellish (dive) during our games.

During this offseason, there have been 3 deaths to NHL players who have been known for their fighting. Will the USHL look to crack down on fighting this season?
I am not sure that fighting is so much the issue as head trauma is in general. Keeping the player helmets on during the fighting should help, someday getting all players in half-shields and our leagues commitment to the removal of hard shell plastic shoulder, elbow and forearm guards should help eliminate injuries.

I'm sure you're well aware of this new battle between the USHL and CHL and Skip Prince's letter. What are your thoughts on the USHL playing a game (or games) against the CHL teams up north?
First and foremost I have the utmost respect for the CHL, I think they and the major junior route has it's place in hockey. I personally don't however understand why a player would NOT want to play in the USHL at no cost to him or his family, get a full ride to a Divison 1 school, get an education, then go play in the NHL. The NHL is not going anywhere and how many players actually make a career at it that when they retire they don't have to work anymore. I think a lot of 15, 16, 17 year old kids are seeing dollar signs and jumping to what they think is a quick ticket to the NHL. Some players aren't very good at school, or dont plan on going to college so in those circumstances major juniors would be what is right for them. As to playing the CHL, I would welcome it and I think the time is right, but looking at it from the CHL side, why would they play us? I am sure they are thinking that when we play them and the USHL wins, they lose their bragging rights.

Thank you Scott for taking the time for a short interview.

Interesting rule changes for this season and hopefully the head shots will decrease drastically. Good move, USHL!


Anonymous said...

Scott Brand is all-world. However, I think science will show/prove it is the head-jolt and the jiggle of the brain pan inside the skull that creates lasting medical problems. Having a helmet on during fights will not mitigate that

Anonymous said...

Leaving the helmets on during fighting is ridiculous. Someone somewhere else brought up the fact what about a player that wears a full face mask or even partial shield? That is not even fair. The referee calls sometimes are not correct and then other players need to help "police" the play on ice. Without being able to fight fairly will definitely not help!