The black and white stripes are a heavy burden to bear when you’re holding the reigns of Canada’s favourite sport.
To help ease in new refs in the Cariboo and make sure they have the skills to properly police a game that can make tempers flare, referee committee member Ross Campbell set up a development weekend to coincide with the bantam tournament.
“They come in here, ref some hockey games and get evaluated by supervisors,” Campbell said.
Refs from 14-18 years-old came to the weekend to help them up their game.
Overall, Campbell was happy with the performances by the refs.
“I’ve been extremely impressed by what I’ve seen by the out of town refs, and our local refs have seen what’s out there and stepped up their game,” he said.
Cory Redden was one of the young, local refs on the ice and was happy with the experience.
“It’s a good experience – I’m learning a lot,” he said.
And despite the evaluation, Redden said he wasn’t nervous.
The weekend also served to allow the young refs to pick the brains of those with more experience.
Campbell was also happy with the players and the coaches, saying they were very understanding with the young officials. But that’s not always the case.
“The hardest part of reffing is making a bad call and having everyone yell at you,” Redden said.
But Redden said the weekend’s learning served up some tips to deal with the stress.
Campbell hopes the positive experience of the weekend will help keep young refs and encourage them to continue in the job.
“Once we do this once in the district and everyone hears how positive it was, I think it’s going to bring other refs up to another level and maybe get more officials around,” he said.
And while the refs were skating, being evaluated and learning, Campbell had his eye out for officials who were performing well and could help out at the upcoming winter Canada Games in Prince George, as well as the option to continue on in their refereeing career to the U16 program.