do hockey refs wear pads

Yes, hockey refs do wear pads. Hockey referees wear padded pants and shin guards for protection.

Hockey referees play a vital role in the game by ensuring players abide by the rules and regulations and making decisions on goals and penalties. As they work on the ice alongside players at high speeds, refs need to be protected against injuries.

Their padded pants and shin guards protect them from being hit by stray hockey pucks, skates, or other equipment. Referees also wear helmets with visors and gloves for added safety.

Without these protective measures, referees would be prone to injuries and unable to carry out their duties effectively.

Purpose of Protective Gear in Hockey

Hockey protective gear serves as a shield against the hard-hitting nature of the game. The gear is designed to reduce the risk of injury to players and officials while improving performance. Here are some key points about the purpose of hockey protective gear:

  • Protective gear reduces the risk of serious injury: The right protective gear can significantly reduce the risk of injury, enabling officials to perform their duties more effectively.
  • The gear enhances mobility: While protecting officials from injury, the gear also provides enough flexibility and mobility to move freely on the ice.
  • Protective gear improves comfort: By using advanced materials, modern protective gear has become much more comfortable than it used to be.
  • Protective gear makes officials more confident: Knowing that you are protected with high-quality gear, officials can focus on performing their duties without worrying about getting hurt.

Properly maintaining your hockey helmet is essential for safety. In addition to cleaning, it’s also important to know how to take ear guards off a hockey helmet, which we’ll discuss in a separate article.

Types of Protective Gear Worn By Hockey Refs

Hockey officials wear a range of protective gear when they hit the ice. The amount and type of equipment referees wear may vary based on individual preferences, league regulations, and the game’s level being officiated.

Below are the types of protective gear worn by hockey referees:

  • Helmet: Hockey officials wear helmets with a protective mask to avoid head injuries.
  • Chest protector: A chest protector shields officials’ upper body, including the chest and collarbone, from injury.
  • Shin pads: Referees wear shin pads that cover the entire shin from below the knee to the top of the skate.
  • Elbow pads: Just like players, officials wear elbow pads to prevent injuries to their elbows.
  • Mouthguard: Hockey officials should consider wearing a mouthguard to prevent dental injuries.
  • Skates: Referees wear ice hockey skates designed for mobility and stability.
  • Gloves: Officials wear gloves with extra padding to help protect their hands from injury.

The safety of hockey players, coaches, and officials is essential to the game. Hockey protective gear plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of referees during the game.

By wearing the right equipment, hockey officials can perform their duties more confidently without worrying about getting hurt.

Standard Equipment for Hockey Referees

Hockey referees and officials are crucial in ensuring fair play during a game. It’s not just the players who require top-quality equipment to do their job, but also the referees. Here are the essential gears that a hockey referee must have:

  • Whistle

This is probably the most crucial piece of equipment for a hockey referee. The whistle helps to stop or start a game, signal offside, icing, or any other violation. However, the type of whistle the referee chooses may vary based on personal preference.

  • Skates

Just like the players, referees in hockey also need to be fast and agile on the ice. A good pair of skates helps them to move quickly and change direction smoothly. Ideally, the skates must provide enough support, comfort, and protection.

  • Stripes Uniform

The black and white stripes uniform traditionally worn by referees is designed explicitly for visibility and identification on the ice. Referees and linesmen both wear different colored stripes on their uniforms to distinguish their specific roles during the game.

  • Helmet

Being on the ice can be quite dangerous without proper protection, considering the speed of the puck and the potential for collision. That’s why protective helmets are a must for hockey referees. The helmet must fit properly and be free from cracks or other damages.

  • Shin Guards

Hockey referees are equally vulnerable to getting hit or knocked down on the ice by the puck. Therefore, they must wear shin guards to protect their legs from injuries. The shin guards referees use are typically shorter than those players use.

  • Girdle

The girdle is worn for protection against hip injuries, which is relatively common for referees. It has padding around the hips and other vital areas to disperse the impact of falls and collisions.

  • Jersey

The jersey worn by hockey referees is unique from that of the players. It’s designed to be lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking, ensuring highly visible performance over the ice.

  • Elbow Pads

Referees must wear elbow pads to protect from sudden falls and knocks. They are typically designed to be thin and lightweight, providing adequate coverage without compromising mobility.

  • Referee Bag

Referees bring multiple small pieces of equipment to every game, and a proper bag carries everything conveniently and organized.

A hockey referee’s critical role demands proper safety and game management equipment. Ensuring that they have all the necessary gear shouldn’t be overlooked, as it can affect the accuracy and quality of the game.

Sometimes, you might need to remove or replace the earguards on your hockey helmet. If you’re a goalie, you may also wonder about breaking in your hockey goalie glove for optimal performance, a topic we cover in another informative article.

Pads and Protection: Ensuring Safety for Hockey Referees

Hockey referees are essential in ensuring the game is played safely and fairly. They are responsible for applying the rules, making crucial decisions, and often near the players. However, a referee’s job can sometimes be unsafe, with players moving at high speeds and swinging sticks and pucks.

That is why referees require adequate protection, including pads and other gear that helps reduce the risk of injury.

Why Do Hockey Referees Wear Pads?

Hockey referees wear pads for several reasons. The primary reason is to protect themselves from injuries, which can occur from flying pucks, contact with players or boards, and accidental collisions.

Referees also wear pads to improve their mobility, allowing them to skate faster and move more quickly to make important calls.

Here are the essential points to understand why hockey referees wear pads:

  • Referees require protection from high-speed pucks, which can travel more than 100 miles per hour.
  • Referees also need protection from collisions with players, which can be particularly dangerous when players are checking or fighting.
  • Pads and other protective gear help reduce the risk of injury, making a referee’s job safer overall.

What Kind of Pads Do Hockey Referees Wear?

Hockey referees wear several types of pads, each protecting different body parts. The pads are designed to be lightweight and flexible, allowing the referees to move freely while still being protected. The following are specific kinds of pads that hockey referees wear:

  • Shin guards: Hockey referees wear shin guards to protect their shins from flying pucks, sticks, and skates. Shin guards are often made of high-density foam that can absorb impacts.
  • Elbow pads: Like shin guards, elbow pads protect the elbows and forearms from collisions with players, sticks, and pucks. They are made of lightweight materials that allow for free movement.
  • Shoulder pads: Referee shoulder pads are plastic and protect the collarbones, shoulders, and upper arms. They can help reduce the risk of injury from collisions with players or the boards.
  • Helmet: A hockey referee wears a helmet to protect the head from injury. The helmet features a cage or visor to protect the face from pucks and sticks.
  • Chest protector: Chest protectors offer additional protection to the torso. They are designed with high-density foam, providing maximum protection from pucks and collisions.

Hockey referees wear pads and other protective gear to ensure their safety while officiating. The pads are lightweight, flexible materials that offer superior protection, allowing referees to focus on the game’s event while minimizing the risk of injury.

Safety Regulations and Guidelines for Hockey Referees

Safety is paramount, especially in sports like hockey, where injuries are highly likely. Hockey players wear protective gear, but have you ever wondered if hockey referees wear pads or any other protective equipment? Let’s find out.

Protective Equipment

Hockey referees also wear protective gear to avoid injuries and keep themselves safe since they’re also on the ice with the players. Here are some of the protective equipment that hockey referees wear:

  • Helmets: Hockey referees wear helmets to protect their heads from injuries. The helmet must adhere to specific safety guidelines, be snug, and fit well.
  • Pads: Hockey referees wear padded pants, shin guards, elbow and shoulder pads. Pads protect the knees, hips, tailbone, and other sensitive spots.
  • Whistles: Hockey referees can’t wear mouthguards, but they use a whistle to communicate with players, coaches, and other officials.
  • Skates: Hockey referees must wear ice skates to move around quickly and keep up with the players.

Safety Rules and Regulations

Hockey referees also need to follow specific safety rules and regulations to keep themselves safe while officiating games:

  • Training and certification: Hockey referees must undergo training and certification to officiate games. They learn about the rules, safety guidelines, and signal calls to uphold a safe game for everyone.
  • Communication: Hockey referees must use hand signals, whistles, and verbal communication to communicate with players, coaches, and other officials. Efficient communication can help prevent collisions and accidents on the ice.
  • Positioning: Hockey referees need to be in the right position to make the right calls during a game. Standing in the right place can help them avoid collisions and stay safe.
  • Understanding the game: Hockey referees need to have an in-depth understanding of the game to ensure fair play for both teams while keeping safety in mind. They must be knowledgeable about dangerous plays that could lead to injuries.

Hockey referees wear protective equipment and follow safety guidelines and regulations to ensure their well-being and protection while officiating games. Their safety is crucial for their well-being and upholding a fair and safe game for everyone involved.

Goalies, in particular, know the importance of a well-fitted glove. If you’re a goaltender or interested in hockey equipment, don’t forget to check out our guide on how to break in a hockey goalie glove for a comfortable and effective performance on the ice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hockey Refs Wear Pads?

Yes, referees do wear protective padding. They wear knee and shin pads, elbow pads, and sometimes upper body protection. This is to ensure their safety in case of collisions on the ice.

What Type of Knee and Shin Pads Do Hockey Referees Wear?

Hockey referees wear specialized knee and shin pads that offer full protection from the hard impacts of the hockey puck and sticks. They are made of lightweight materials that are strong and can absorb shocks.

Why Do Hockey Referees Wear Elbow Pads?

Referees wear elbow pads to protect themselves from potential collisions with players. Elbow pads have hard plastic shells that absorb impacts and soft foam padding inside to provide comfort.

Do Hockey Referees Wear Helmets?

Yes, of course. Helmets are mandatory for everyone playing or officiating in the game of hockey. Referees wear helmets certified for the league, which means they meet certain safety standards.

What Other Protective Gear Do Hockey Referees Wear?

In addition to the gear mentioned above, referees wear mouthguards, neck guards, and sometimes chest protectors. This helps to keep the referee safe while on the ice and minimize the risk of injury from falls, checks, or other incidents.


In the end, hockey refs do indeed wear pads. These pads are essential for the safety and protection of the referees during the game. Not only do they provide coverage and support, but they also help to absorb the shock of any potential collisions or falls on the ice.

As with any sport, safety for the players and officials is of the utmost importance, and the pads help to ensure that everyone remains as safe as possible while on the ice. With this knowledge, spectators can watch the game with a greater understanding of the equipment worn by those who help to make the game possible.

And for those considering becoming a hockey official, it’s important to remember that wearing pads is essential to the job.

Muktadir Risan is a passionate author behind the Pro Sports Hack. With a knack for sports hacks, tips, and tutorials, he shares his expertise to help sports enthusiasts gain a competitive edge. His concise and actionable content resonates with readers, inspiring them to elevate their game.