‘Beat The Clock’

We love being a hockey parent. We enjoy volunteering! However, is there anything more intimidating than operating the clock? Are there ways to get out of it? Is it really that complicated? In this episode of ‘Life of a Hockey Parent’, moms and dads share their experiences with how they deal with running “The Clock”.  

Below, we’ve included tips & tricks to make your next experience a more enjoyable one. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be feeling like a pro Timekeeper in no time!

PRO Tips & Tricks from Jan Kruis

  1. Practice operating the score clock during your kids’ hockey practice.  Be careful not to hit the buzzer button!
  2. Talk to the referee before the game.  Introduce yourself and let them know your experience level on the clock.  They will be your friend throughout the game!
  3. Make eye contact with the referee when he/she is announcing a penalty.  That way, there is no confusion or misunderstanding about what is being called or how many minutes to put up on the clock.
  4. The clock must stop when the whistle blows during play.  The clock restarts when the puck drops after stoppage of play.  Don’t worry, the crowd will let you know if you forget to start or stop the clock!
  5. Don’t put the penalty time onto the clock until the referee announces it to you.  A 2-minute minor could become a 5-minute major penalty. Be patient! Making that change can be complicated. Don’t make the crowd turn against you!
  6. Scorekeeper and timekeeper are considered “off-ice officials”.  Stay neutral (no loud cheering for your team). And wearing your child’s team jersey in the box is considered bad form!
  7. The clock is smarter than you think! If you get a third penalty and have only room for two on the arena clock, enter it anyway.  When the first penalty expires, the third will magically appear.
  8. Don’t forget to have fun! You have one of the best seats in the house!

Jan Kruis has coached at Bow Valley and Calgary Rec Hockey associations for eight years.  He is in his ninth season as a referee for CZRC and has officiated more than 1,000 games. Jan has also supervised more than 200 officials in the Shadow/Mentor Program. 

Tutorials & Manuals

Watch this video tutorial on the most commonly found score clock at the rink.


  • Off-Ice Officials (Scorekeeper & Timekeeper) PDF manuals can be downloaded from Hockey Calgary’s website. You’ll also find detailed instructions on how to operate the scoreboard clocks. Click on the button below.

Scorekeeper & Timekeeper Manuals


Special Thanks to the Calgary Saints Hockey Association & East Calgary Twin Arena Society (ECTAS) for allowing HockeyXtra to film at your tournament.


To see more videos from the Life of a Hockey Parent Series click on the button below.

LOAHP Series


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