Updated Oct 28, 2020
What is the CHC E-whistle Program?
In cooperation with the CHC, the USA Hockey officiating program in CT is transitioning to state-wide use of electronic whistles (e-whistles) to help keep hockey going in the state during the pandemic. Through this program, the CHC will help fund a bulk purchase of e-whistles which will be distributed to officials working CHC games in the state.
One of the COVID-19 transmission mechanisms is via aerosolized respiratory droplets. When officials blow into a whistle, respiratory droplets are concentrated and accelerated through the top slot of the whistle. This creates an exposure risk to those that might be in the vicinity when the whistle is blown. Use of an e-whistle will eliminate that transmission risk.
Which e-whistle will CHC officials receive?
After reviewing and test-driving two popular models, we have chosen the Fox 40 e-whistle. This whistle gets the most positive online reviews and it tested sufficiently loud in real games.
What is the cost of an e-whistle to a CHC official?
Nothing. The CHC is funding a portion of the bulk purchase of e-whistles for officials that are working CHC games. The balance is coming from the USA Hockey district fee that each official paid upon registration.
Can officials that already have an e-whistle get reimbursed?
No. The CHC is providing funds for a bulk purchase. They are not providing subsidies to individual officials.
Who is getting the e-whistles?
Officials who work CHC games are eligible to receive one e-whistle through this program. Schedules are downloaded from Arbiter to determine eligibility.
Can officials get more than one whistle through this program?
No. The funding through CHC and USA Hockey is for one whistle per eligible official.
If an official is not working CHC games can they still get a whistle?
Not through this program. CHC funds must be spent on officials that work CHC games.
Can the acquired e-whistle be used in non-CHC games?
Once acquired, the e-whistle is treated like an official's usual finger whistle and can be used in whatever games are officiated.
What if an e-whistle breaks or the batteries run out during the season?
Once acquired, the e-whistle is treated like an official's usual finger whistle. Officials are responsible for keeping it in good working order and replacing it if need be. The e-whistle runs on a 9-volt battery. Officials are encouraged to keep a spare in their pocket.
What if an e-whistle breaks during a game?
Officials have long been advised to keep a spare finger whistle in their pocket. This advice does not change. If an e-whistle breaks during the game, use a finger whistle until a replacement e-whistle can be located.
Are officials required to use an e-whistle?
For CHC games, once an official has acquired one, yes.
If one official has an e-whistle but the other doesn't should both use finger whistles?
No. Health precautions trump consistency. The rinks and the youth organizations want us to help keep hockey open in the state. If someone has a problem with one official using an e-whistle and another not, direct them to me (
If an official has an e-whistle are they also required to wear a facemask?
The main concern with officials is the respiratory droplets that are ejected when a whistle is blown. Negating that problem by using e-whistles makes us no more of a health risk than the players we share the ice with. (Updated 12/16/2020)
Players are not required to wear facemasks so it is not reasonable to require officials to wear facemasks.
That being said, we should make every effort to help keep hockey open in the state. That includes wearing a facemask when possible and practical. One of the best practices that is evolving is to use a neck gaiter and to cover the mouth and nose at faceoffs or when talking to players, coaches, or your partner. During play, the gaiter may be pulled down to prevent fogging and make it easier to breathe. Surgical style masks do not work well for officiating.
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