Update Monday 11-22-22 — Section III has rejected the latest proposal submitted by hockey officials. In the response, the officials said they would work in 3-man vs. 2-man shifts. Since the proposal was denied, there is still no resolution. A representative for Section III says that as of Monday afternoon, 30 refs have walked away, leaving the section very short for the upcoming season. The new season begins Tuesday, November 22.

Here is a response from Section III:


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In less than a week the high school hockey season is set to start, but that may be in jeopardy due to a labor dispute between Section III and its hockey officials.

The state adopted the extra 13 percent of game time. The Section tried to install it and didn’t want to compensate the officials for the extra work time. Our feeling is, you know if you ask anyone to work 13 percent longer they are going to require some more pay for that.

Vince Christian, a Section III hockey officials representative

In 2021 NYSPHSAA changed the period length from 15 minutes to 17 minutes. Last season, Section III and its officials agreed on compensation for the change in their working conditions. The increase was from $96 dollars per game to now $102 dollars per game.

Following the high school hockey season in May, Section III and its 43 official organizations signed a new four-year agreement for all sports. In that agreement was an increase of two dollars per game, per season for each sport except hockey.

John Rathbun, Executive Director of Section III released the following statement on Thursday:

“It is the position of the Section III Board of Directors and legal counsel that the 2022-2026 Section III Officials contract should be upheld and binding by all involved parties. On behalf of our Athletic Directors, Coaches, and Student-Athletes, Section III spent over six months negotiating in good faith with appropriately authorized officials’ representatives. It is our hope that the 105 member school districts and the 43 officials organization honor and respect the current agreement that was negotiated and agreed upon, so that our student-athletes are not penalized and may participate in the sports they love during this Winter sports season.

Lastly, although mentioned above, it bears repeating – the Section’s position has nothing to do with the Ice Hockey Officials, nor is this about money. Instead, as educators and coaches, we are constantly in search of “teaching moments” for the Section’s thousands of student-athletes. This is such a moment insofar as an opportunity to confirm the Section’s longstanding belief that a contract, and someone’s word, are actually worth something. And that if you agree to do something, there is a reasonable expectation that it be done. That is precisely what we expect from our coaches and our student-athletes, and candidly, what we expect from our officials. So, while the Ice Hockey Officials may be displeased with the terms of the current contract and/or the efforts of their representatives, their “grievance” is with those individuals who negotiated on their behalf– not with the Section or our student-athletes.”

The Section III hockey season is set to begin on Tuesday, November 22.