Picture this. Kingston. October 10, 2017. Your son's peewee team is playing their first game of the season. You've decided to buy pizza for the players and coaches. This is a thoughtful gesture and one which is similarly repeated in hockey arenas all over Canada each year.
If the referees are lucky they will get paid on time and they weren't yelled at during the game. That's about as good as it gets for a minor hockey referee. Would they appreciate a share of the pizza, cupcakes or cookies after the game? I'm certain most would and it could go a long way towards mutual respect and possibly even retaining young officials.
I believe a referee is part of the game and few, if any, will ever intentionally have a bias towards one team or the other. I won't accept the argument that providing pizza or a hot chocolate (some rinks are far too cold - ahem Chester) to refs after a game will align them on your side and get you favourable calls. Referees are humans first and if a human is treated with dignity, respect and occasionally pizza he or she will come back for more.
Players, coaches, volunteers, employees, parents, students, teachers, teacher's assistants, cashiers, crossing guards, grandparents, sales associates, customers, (etc) all deserve dignity and respect. Why do we conveniently forget this with minor hockey referees?
Regardless of whether they are adults or youth they are involved because they love something you love, the game of hockey. I think that deserves a slice of pizza.