WHISTLE ON: Far North Coast Hockey umpire and one of three match official co-ordinators, Helen Jarvie in action. FNCH is inviting or more players to step up and have go at umpiring.
WHISTLE ON: Far North Coast Hockey umpire and one of three match official co-ordinators, Helen Jarvie in action. FNCH is inviting or more players to step up and have go at umpiring.

Many benefits to umpiring an ‘exhilarating’ sport

OFFICIATING at a high-energy sport where at the play is fast and often furious is not for the faint-hearted.

However, Far North Coast Hockey umpire co-ordinator, Jane Parrish, said the job is exciting and offers enormous satisfaction.

"Hockey us an exciting game and is exhilarating to umpire," she said.

"We have a duty of care for players and umpires and ensure we give everyone involved a positive experience."

Parrish works closely with FNCH colleagues Helen Jarvie and Tristen White to manage allocating two umpires to between the 50 to 60 hockey games on any weekend during the season which clubs in Alstonville, Ballina, Coraki and Lismore fielding teams.

She said their role is to develop, coach, train and appoint umpires in all grades for all junior and senior (men's and women's) competition games.

"The three of us make the arrangements, organise umpire development and liaise with the state and national bodies," she said.

"Our competitions ranges from Minkey for the little players up to seniors and we are keen to encourage newcomers to pick up a whistle and get involved."

Parrish said the Community Umpire program is directed towards the needs of players, parents, teachers and other new umpires who are involved in Hookin2Hockey, modified versions of the game or lower level club hockey.

She said anyone of nearly any age can put their hand up to be a match official.

"There are no minimum requirements for this level and you will be supported by umpiring mentors," she said.

"We are there to help new and existing umpires get their qualifications and assist them progress."

She said the fast-moving game requires a lot of concentration and many players make the move from wielding a tick to a whistle.

While the pay is low compared to other sports, Parrish said the life skills gained are invaluable.

"Hockey does not have the infrastructure of other sports such as rugby league," she said.

"But we do have funding to support junior umpires to get their qualifications.

"We have umpires in the region who have officiated at international games."

More information at https://www.facebook.com/fnchockey/

Photo: Shez Napper