Monday, August 18, 2014 Number: If a referee chooses to wear a number, that number must be a numeral of no more than four digits (i.e., it may not contain letters and symbols, regardless of their size).

Today’s rule comes from the Officials section of the rules. It sets the legal standard for the characters allowed in a “referee number” on the back of a referee jersey.

In the prior (June 15, 2013) rule set, a referee number was restricted to up to four digits if the jersey did not display the referee’s name. If the jersey did have a name, the number could be any number of digits, letters, and/or symbols.

This has now changed. Whether or not a referee’s jersey displays a name, any “referee number” may only contain up to four digits with no letters or symbols. This is a stricter set of limitations than skaters have for their numbers.

The change in today’s rule is meaningless for skaters and does not impact the vast majority of referees, but for a small subset of referees it has significance. As many skaters will attest, one can develop a strong affection for their number. Affected referees in this rule set were required to either eliminate or change their skater number, quite possibly replacing their jersey in the process. Until they do so, their outdated jerseys are not a legal referee uniform under the rule set.