Shaffer puts in another season as WCHA linesman

Marty Shaffe
Marty Shaffe

REED CITY — It’s time now for Marty Shaffer to give up his hockey helmet for his baseball cap.

Shaffer is in his second week as Reed City’s baseball coach in preseason practices.

The season starts on April 4 at Morley Stanwood.

Most recently, Shaffer finished another season of officiating high school and college hockey games. Ferris hockey fans will remember watching him as a linesman at most of the Bulldog games. He wears No. 92.

“I’ve been doing hockey for 10 years,” Shaffer said. “I played club hockey at Ferris. When we got done with that, I finished school and didn’t have a job. I wanted to make some money and I had a couple of guys who were buddies who did it at a higher level and they said I should start. I had a skating background so I took it from there.”

His WCHA assignor is based out Minnesota. Each WCHA game has two referees and two linesmen. The referees can come from everywhere, but it’s a different situation for linesmen.

“They look for local guys who can do games,” Shaffer said. “Me being so close to Big Rapids, it saves them paying someone mileage. But I did go to Bowling Green (for WCHA first-round playoffs) since Ferris wasn’t playing. Two of the referees, one was from Alaska and one from Florida. They come from everywhere.”

Linesman basically work faceoffs and call offsides and icing, and break up potential fights among the players. He’s hired by the WCHA, not Ferris.

“I do high school games, I’ve been doing that for probably the longest,” Shaffer said. I’ve done a state final and some state semifinals and finals (as a referee).”

Shaffer said being a collegiate referee is his ultimate goal.

“Most of the guys don’t come to the league as referees,” he said. “You need a few years. You have to go to a training camp before the season starts. Our supervisors decide if we’re ready or not.”

Shaffer worked all but two Ferris home games.

“I do a ton of Big Rapids games,” he said. “I did five this past season. I assign basically for high schools north of here. I’m originally up from Kalkaska.”

Shaffer has also officiated volleyball matches and basketball games, and umpired basketball games in the past.

As a hockey official, he admits hearing from the crowd a loy.

“You get yelled at but we know the rules more than anyone else,” Shaffer said.