Season 5 Episodes 3 and 4 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; Consistency is Key/Dead Man Walking. This week, Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by CCHA Director of Officiating Marco Hunt. In this episode, they discussed how Marco became an official, changes he hopes to make to the CCHA, Patron questions, goaltender interference, NCAA hockey rule changes, Marco’s favorite and least favorite places to officiate, the difference between east coast and western hockey officials and the recent drama at Bowling Green.
The long and winding road
Tim started the conversation off by asking Marco how he got to where he is today. Marco talked about playing at Bemidji State and picking up officiating to make a few extra bucks. From there, Marco talked about doing even more officiating after he was finished playing, but still completing school. He also talked about his time officiating in Division III followed by the United States Hockey League (USHL) followed by the WCHA and the BIG. Marco talked about what he did after leaving the ice as an official in 2017.
There was a follow-up question asked by a Patron, who asked Marco to speak on his time playing at Bemidji State with current Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. Marco talked about Serratore being a smart player and how he had coaching in his blood. Tim asked about Serratore’s nickname of “Ernie”, but Marco couldn’t remember where it originated (side note: Tim requested that I draw attention his mistake in attributing Serratore’s “Ernie” nickname to Sesame Street. He claims that he really meant to say Ernie from “My Three Sons” and not Sesame Street).
Tim asked Marco if he has made any changes already in his short time as CCHA Director of Officiating. Marco talked about the position being a work in progress, but emphasized that he is working with the Big 10 and the NCHC to make one officiating pool across the leagues. Marco talked about the benefits of using one pool across the leagues. The guys spent some time talking about getting the officials on the same page for the sake of consistent calls.
Rules are meant to be broken
The guys spent a decent chunk of time talking about goaltender interference and the criteria used to make the call. Marco rattled off the criteria and talked about the officials using these criteria every time, but then told a story about a room full of officials being split 50/50 when shown a video of potential goaltender interference and being asked if it actually was interference. The guys talked about the fan perspective on some of the more “subjective” calls, especially when they get to see the replays in super slow motion.
THG’s own Jonathan Zamaites submitted a question asking Marco if there will be areas of focus for officials making calls this year. Marco didn’t have a specific emphasis, but did talk about the “too many men” penalty no longer being a reviewable call. Marco also talked about an experimental rule change the CCHA has submitted to the NCAA for consideration. The change would affect how a high sticking penalty is called and changes the college high sticking location to mirror that of the NHL. There was a Patron question that asked about the length of time for offsides reviews and whether it will be limited or not.
Tim asked Marco if he’d be willing to meet up sometime and show him what a face-off violation is. This lead to a conversation about the skill of a linesmen dropping the puck and all of the possible violations they have to look for while doing so.
East versus West beef
Rob asked Marco about his perspective on whether there is a different officiating style between officials in eastern leagues and western leagues. Marco thought there was certainly a difference back in his officiating days and talked about those differences. He talked about the pressure of being an official in the old WCHA days which had full arenas and Top 10 teams playing every weekend. Marco didn’t think there is as drastic of a difference now between officials.
Story time with Marco Hunt
After covering the various officiating topics, the guys went a little more light-hearted and asked Marco to talk about some stories he had. The guys relived some memories of visiting bars after hockey games. Marco told some stories about the different personalities between him and some of the linesmen he worked with. Tim asked Marco about his least favorite hockey arena and Marco talked about the difficulties of officiating at Mariucci Arena since he lived nearby. Marco also talked about North Dakota being a nightmare location, but did mention that officiating in those locations made him a better official.
Tim also asked Marco if there were any coaches he didn’t like and Marco joked that he liked every coach he ever worked with. The guys had a discussion on the dehumanization of officials that occurs at times in todays sporting world.
The results are in
Once Marco left the podcast, the guys changed gears to discuss the pre-season CCHA media poll and coaches poll which were released on Monday. Tech was picked to win the league in both polls, which the guys didn’t think had ever happened before. The guys discussed whether they believe Minnesota State will fall as far as both polls predicted.
Drama at Bowling Green
The guys discussed the other news that dropped on Monday about Bowling Green forward Austen Swankler entering the transfer portal, Bowling Green head coach Ty Eigner being placed on administrative leave, and the University investigating an off-campus hazing incident. The guys thought it would be tough for Swankler to find a place to play this season given his timing in entering the transfer portal. Tim talked about the lack of scholarships available at this point, as well as fall classes having started.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 24 minutes long. There was a discussion on whether CCHA teams will be importing linesman and Marco’s scheduling of officials. There was extended discussion on the dehumanization of officials that happens in todays sporting world. Dustin and Rob discussed the weekend that they had. There was a discussion on possible THG events at the upcoming Great Lakes Invitational.
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