We’re on the ice at the Skatium in Fort Myers hard at play when a dapper little guy dashes out wearing a full referee’s uniform. He barrels around the ice, warming up, then pulls out a whistle.
“Offside!” he shouts, snagging the puck off the ice and motioning the guys to line up for a faceoff. Like sheep, we obey.
Seconds later, there’s another blast of his whistle.
“Icing!” he bellows. He stands in the faceoff spot while one of the players directs the puck to his feet. He drops the puck between two sticks and blasts his whistle again.
This goes on for five or ten minutes. There’s a faceoff every few seconds and the guys begin to grumble.
“Who the hell is that guy?” someone asks. “Who told him we needed a referee?”
“Nobody invited him,” Dave St. Andrews says. “He just showed up,”
“Then tell him to go home,” I say. “We lose 15 seconds of playing time every time he blasts that friggin’ whistle.”
Dave calls the ref over to our bench. “Not so many whistles, pal. They eat up too much time. Besides, we’re used to calling our own offsides.”
The guy looks offended. Just then a defenseman slaps the puck into the net.
“Tweeet!” goes the whistle.
“How about that one?” says the ref, looking over his shoulder. He dashes in to retrieve the puck. “That was a good whistle.”
We don’t argue.
But he must have sensed how we all felt.
Two more offsides follow. He wanted to blow them down but he hesitated. No “tweet”. Then he lets an icing go.
A ref who can’t “Tweet” is no ref at all.
A few minutes later he was gone. Off the ice and into the dressing room.
Pissed off, no doubt.
But what do we care. We don’t give a hoot—or a “Tweet”.