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Yes, you can. Unless otherwise stated, abilities on a creature only apply when they are on the battlefield. So when it is on the stack (after it was cast but before it comes into play) it is a creature spell and can be countered even if it has Shoud, Hexproof, or Protection from Blue/Instants/Etc...
The obvious exception being when it says they CAN'T be countered. For example, Thrun, the Last Troll .
Damn! FNM! Played me then! I should have won! I must've Mana Leak 25 last night! But, "Nooooooooooo, Geist of Saint Traft has Hexproof" even an employee of the store also in the tournament, who was my first opponent said "Noooo, it has Hexproof"! I'm soooooooooooooooooo tight right now!
Wow, that's pretty bad. Was there not an actual certified Judge or Rules Advisor available to be the designated "head judge"? The TO is supposed to let everyone know who that person is before the event starts. I really don't like it when the role ends up defaulting to a TO or shop employee who doesn't actually know the rules well enough to do it.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Anyone participating in an event should NEVER be allowed to 'rule' on any situation. I don't care what level Judge they are or if they own the store. Being a Judge makes it worse, as they should know better. It is a conflict of interests, hands down. Even if it isn't their game, it could influence the outcome of the event which they have a stake in.
If you have a question, please get a judge or whomever is running the event. As Rhadamanthus said, sometimes that defaults onto someone not really qualified to do so and you can't do much in those cases except take your business else where.
But in your situation, it seems like the employee in question was in the match, but was he the one running the event or was someone else? If so, that's a big no-no. Wizards would not be too happy to hear that.
Huh. Then the guy at our card shop either has the wrong info or just doesn't want to play because he 'quoted' some rule last time I was (jokingly) trying to prod him into playing with the rest of us. It made sense to me when he said it, per my above reasons. And since Planeswalker Points are awarded at that level, I would think barring TOs would prevent any shadiness.
Learn something new every day I guess. :-)