May IHOA meeting & Annual Election

This is a friendly reminder that the Annual Meeting and Election of Board Members and Officers will be held on

Monday, May 10th, 2021 @ 7pm (Central time) via a Zoom webinar:

Register in advance for this webinar:

**After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Below are the candidates, in alphabetical order, and their bio’s:

Mark Bialko:

Hi, my name is Mark Bialko. I am currently serving on the IHOA board as a director. I am seeking to be re-elected to the board for a second term. I first started officiating when I was twelve years old. I officiated for seven years at that time. I returned to officiating five years ago because my son Michael was playing and encouraged me to get back into officiating because he saw my love of officiating and the game. At that time, Michael was planning to become an official. Michael is now a third-year official. I wish I would have stayed involved as an official during those years away but at the time I went away to college in Florida and when I returned, I was hired as an aircraft mechanic with United Airlines working the midnight shift. Now as a father, official, and working in cooperate aircraft maintenance now, I have the time and passion to donate my time as a board member. I see the value in seminars, mentoring, and the development of current and new officials. I want to give back to the officiating community that welcomed me back with open arms and I have embraced it. I love helping our members gain the knowledge and experience so they all can be the best possible official they can be.  I can do this by being re-elected to a second term.

Brian Fisher:

My name is Brian Fisher. I began my officiating career when I was 12 to improve my skating skills, expand my knowledge of the game I love, and to earn a little pocket money. The more I was able to ref, the more I began to appreciate the complexities of the job, which I feel made me a better player in my younger years. With that being said, I have now been an official for 20 plus years and still love it just as much. I am currently a level 4 official and attended the Advanced Officials Symposium in Minneapolis, MN that took place in 2019. This gave me the opportunity to network with officials from all over the United States and share our experiences with one another. I feel the best way to gain insight is from firsthand stories and experiences. I would say that the Symposium most certainly was a melting pot of knowledge and I enjoyed learning and being a part of it.  In recent years, I have also volunteered to be a seminar assistant and supervisor with IHOA. I like helping new referees and those who have been on the ice for as long as I have, continue to learn so that we can provide a fun, positive, and safe environment for the athletes to compete. One of my proudest referee moments was when I was invited to the Red Division High School State Championship game at the United Center in 2015.  Being a hockey player through my college years, skating on the ice at the United Center was an incredible experience.  Along with the Red Division High School State Championship, I have been selected to work at three National Championship tournaments as well. When I am not on the ice, I live with my wife and two children in Oswego.  When the weather and wife allow, you will find me riding my bike or playing in my summer softball league. Thank you for the nomination.

Steven Rickard:

Greetings, my name is Steven Rickard and I have been a USA Hockey Official for 12 years. I participated in the Advanced Development Program for three years. During my involvement with the Development Program, I started to volunteer my time helping out with seminars as an assistant instructor in the classroom and on the ice. I have also mentored first-time officials officiating their first games and evaluated hundreds of officials during my officiating career. I believe giving back to the officiating community is essential to maintaining a strong core of officials. I have been an  IHOA Board Member for three years. I have been the Chairman of the PED committee and, most recently, the President of IHOA.

Carl Sassolino:

My name is Carl Sassolino and I am running for re-election for the IHOA Board of Directors. I have been an official for the last 21 years and on the Board of Directors for the last 12 years. During that time I have been involved on the following committees: Evaluation, Mentoring, Seminar Coordinator, and the Performance Education and Development to name a few. While working on these committees, it has been important to me to reach out and listen to the membership on how we could best help in each of these areas. I am very proud to say that we have made some vast improvements with the ideas of our membership on how we could best help all levels of officials. In the last 2 years, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had to adjust our seminars to being virtual while still working under the USA guidelines sent to us every year. Regarding IHOA’s Mentoring Program, we have worked hard and became one of the model programs in all of USA Hockey across the country, largely due to the over 90 Mentors who have helped along the way. We were able to help train and mentor over 250 new officials on close to 300 games in the last 3 years. Even though we as a board have made the improvements mentioned above, I don’t believe we are fully where we need to be and, if re-elected, will continue to work making our programs the best in the country and set the standards for all of USA Hockey.

Craig Welker:

I have been an IHOA official for over 25 years, and during this time I have been involved with many IHOA programs and events.  I started the IHOA Advanced Development program back in 2000 and have continued to stay involved with it over the last couple of decades.  As an official, I have worked in many various leagues, including the USHL, CHL, ECHL, WCHA, and the BIG10.  If elected to serve another term, I will continue to work with the development program to help officials get the same opportunities I had during my career.  I will also continue to volunteer in coordinating and assisting with the seminars.  Thanks for the opportunity to serve as a board member for the past many years and I ask for your vote in the upcoming election.