Londoner Joy Tottman is one of the UK’s most well know officials having reffed at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Turin along with numerous World Championships. She spoke exclusively to the match day programme for the MK game so we have put it here for those who missed out.
What are your favourite/non favourite memories of refereeing in Streatham?
Lots of fond memories of refereeing in Streatham – it wasn’t exactly a state of the art arena but it certainly had character. When I first starting reffing, my Dad and I got assigned quite often the Sunday night fixtures in Streatham which never ran on time and often meant we would be at the rink from 4pm until midnight most Sundays during the season.
We used to get the train from Romford through London to Streatham because in my Dad’s words ‘it was a pig of a journey otherwise and getting the train meant we would be less likely to get caught in drive-by shootings’! After the games we would also run across the road to grab a bag of chips (we were finely tuned athletes of course) before running to catch the last train home. One particular game we reffed two players went in for a check near the Boards and the Boards fell flat – we had to stop play because both players were lying on top of the boards next to spectators!
As a London based referee do you wish there were some EPL/Elite teams in London you could referee?
It would be great to have more teams based in London in the EPL or the Elite league. I think the city has a lot to offer and this is sometimes the problem with gaining a crowd base – people have so much to choose from that building up support and revenue can be difficult. However with so many people living in London it would be great to have more teams to inspire younger children to get involved with ice hockey.
Have you visited the new Brixton ice rink yet? any thoughts?
I haven’t had a chance to visit the new Brixton rink yet but from what I hear it is easy to get to by train and a pretty decent facility. I hope to get a chance to visit it soon.
How do you feel about the introduction of four person systems by the EIHA, how have you found these games to officiate?
The introduction of the 4 man system to the EIHA has been a major step forward. Pretty much every other country in Europe operates with the 4 man system in some form – whether it be in their top leagues or throughout their whole programmes. The real challenge for us has been to get enough officials to be able to consistently cover the games with 4 officials.
It is a different system for the refs and the players to adjust to and this will certainly take time – for me I have found I had to pay more attention to positioning because whereas under the 3 man system I am used to taking care of the whole ice, under the 4 man system I just skate half of the ice surface but can still call penalties everywhere. It also means that whereas I am used to seeing penalties from chasing play up the ice, under the 4 man system I am seeing them head on from the front – this different perspective takes some getting used to for everyone – not to mention the refs have to backward skate way more than before! It is great for the EIHA to be moving with the trend across other European countries and I think the more we see of this the more it will just be part of the game!
Next tournaments for me are IIHF final round Olympic Qualification for the teams in Germany in February and IIHF Women’s World Championships in Canada in April. Performance at both events for me will be critical in determining if I am in the mix for Sochi or in with a chance of getting selected at all. No female official has done 3 Olympics so I have my goal set on trying to do that but I have been privileged enough to ref at 2 and need to remember that is a great achievement already! But Russia will be awesome and I am doing everything I can do be there – including getting up at 5:30am every day to train with my trainer!
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