SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Section III hockey season was on thin ice due to a dispute over referee pay.

Around 55 officials in the area declared themselves inactive leaving only 10 to staff all of the Syracuse Utica area.

However, Sunday night Section III officials agreed to the proposal by athletic directors and coaches.

Section III official Vince Christian sent NewsChannel 9 the following release.

The local NIHOA chapters of ice hockey officials voted in favor of the request set forth by the coaches and ADs. We believe this request will help to ensure player safety. Our vote will allow the season to progress as planned. We will continue to pursue our fact-finding and grievance procedures, per the NYSPHSAA contract.

Section III Officials

“It was very frustrating getting to this point,” West Genesse head Coach Frank Colabufo said. “But I think that we all hoped and believed that this was possible, that at the end of the day, everyone wanted to do what was best for kids and we would find a way to get here.”

The key to the agreement was that most, if not all, of the 20 schools that play boys’ hockey in the region have agreed to use a three-person referee crew. Generally, three-person crews are reserved for playoff games.

Colabufo says this is a win-win for both sides.

“They are able to get more opportunities to work by having three officials every game so it’s a win for the officials there,” he said. “And it’s a win for the schools, the hockey-playing schools because now we get a better safer game for the kids. And obviously, it’s a win for the kids because now they’re back on the ice and they are playing.”