The Worst Referee In The United States Bill Cronin

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The Worst Referee In The United States – Bill Cronin November 3, 2012 1:35 PM

Over the weekend I went to visit a friend in Wisconsin who was watching some of his players in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. Having never been to an MNJHL game before I was looking forward to the experience as the second place Dells Ducks and third place Rochester Icehawks were going to face of in what should have been a great contest.

I have to say the game started out very fast with the Ducks jumping out to a 1 – 0 lead roughly thirty seconds into the contest. The speed of both teams was evident from the puck drop, it was probably the fastest skating game I have ever seen at the Tier III level.

What happened after that first goal though was amazing. I offer the official game sheet as exhibit number one:

http://www.mnjhl.com/game/game_sheet/3554407

In roughly thirty years as a former player, coach and fan, I have never seen such a clear example of ineptitude in referee standards as I saw in this game.

Calling penaltys on both teams that were not even close to penaltys was just one example of what took place. In one instance, the player had control of the puck, entered the offensive zone, and was about to take a shot, Referee Cronin raised his arm and called a head contact penalty on the player who had possession of the puck when he went around a defender! No head contact, no check from the defender, and the player called for the penalty had possession of the puck at all times!

For those that may say I am picking on this referee unfairly I challenge you to watch the archived game tape on the Minnesota Sports Broadcast Network. Exhibit number two:

https://www.meridix.com/mbp/hockey/index.php?liveid=MNJHL1&recordid=32588

I understand that players, coaches and referee’s can have bad games. Everyone has an off night.

An off night however for a referee does not come to the tune of THIRTY SIX PENALTYS CALLED!!! Twenty one penaltys called against the Dells Ducks and fifteen penaltys called against the Rochester Icehawks.

Referee’s are on the ice to manage the game. Managing the game means to control the players from taking liberties against one another, and keeping the game moving so that the fans have a good viewing experience.

Managing the game does not mean calling penalty after penalty, penalty’s that simply did not take place, or penaltys that do not rise to the occassion of being one that should be called in order to influence the flow of the game.

When fans, fans from both teams, are walking the lobby talking about how rediculous the penaltys are that are being called there is definitely a problem. When fans from the team that has the penalty advantage are walking the lobby saying, "We want to win, but we sure dont want to win like this." and "We didnt deserve to win the game, the referee served it up to us pretty nicely.", there is a big problem.

Now normally, I wouldnt call out an official for a bad call or two. I probably wouldnt even call out an official for a half dozen bad calls, I would just call that a bad night. But what I witnessed in Wisconsin on Friday night was literally the worst refereed game I have ever seen in my life.

Bill Cronin may be a nice guy. He may even be a good linesman. But if the MNJHL is suppossed to be a training ground for players, and referees to reach the next levels, the league had better take a very close look at the game tape. In this instance, Bill Cronin earned the title of the worst referee in the United States, and he may hold that title for a very long time.

By Kevin Kelly Guest Writer Opinion

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