If two heads are better than one, imagine what four eyes can do.
A pair of Trail referees will be combining forces in the Fred Page Cup thanks to the newly implemented two-man referee system used by the BCHL.
Trail’s Jim Maniago and Grant Tyson have been tabbed to work together next Tuesday in Vernon for Game 4 of the final between Powell River and the Vernon Vipers.
It won’t be the first time the duo has refereed a BCHL game together. They were selected to handle calls during the 2009 BCHL All Star Game in Vernon.
However, the recent conference finals were the first time the system has been used in league play. Both Tyson and Maniago worked the Interior Conference final, although not with each other.
“It definitely is easier in a lot of ways,” said Maniago.
“There’s less skating, better sight lines, you see more with two guys.”
Tyson added the speed of the game, especially when it gets down to the elite teams, can be too much for one referee to keep up with.
“The one-man system is tough when you get to the division finals. It’s fast.
“You can be the best skater in the world but with no red line, the offside pass is out, a guy can pass from the (faceoff) dot (in the defensive zone) to the far blueline. How am I going to get there?
“This way the whole ice is covered and hopefully you don’t miss as much.”
Both noticed more penalties of some variety while less of others.
“The games in Vernon against Salmon Arm were all obstruction fouls,” said Tyson. “There were no blows to the head, it was all hooking and holding.”
He also noted that any cheap shots behind the play were kept to a minimum.
“You’re going to catch that. And at this level, this far into the playoffs, the guys aren’t going to take stupid penalties.”
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One thing they both agreed on was that the system would be of better use earlier in the playoffs.
“It would have been effective in the first two rounds when there was more stuff going on behind the play and more stick work in general,” said Maniago.
“The Trail-Westside series was brutal because there was so much going on,” added Tyson. “There was a lot of hacking and whacking and you can’t see everything when you’re dodging 10 skaters and a puck.”
Unlike the first couple of rounds when the disparity in talent might require one team to revert to more clutching and grabbing, the conference and league finals feature the best teams.
“At this point it’s pretty good clean hockey,” said Maniago. “You are down to the best teams and supposedly the best refs.
“It’s definitely fun working with some of the other guys that we don’t get to work with and it would be nice to try it during the season for a certain number of games.”
Tyson and Maniago also worked last year’s final between Vernon and Powell River when one referee was assigned to each game.
“It’s always exciting to work the conference and league finals,” said Maniago. “It’s a nice reward for a long season.”