Two local up-and-coming hockey officials are being sponsored by the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association (OMAHA) to attend the BC Hockey Summer Officiating School in Osoyoos.
Past and present NHL,WHL and BCHL referees have attended the school – considered one of the best in Canada.
Adam Luchkanych, 15, and Dylan Dodge, 14, were nominated by Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association referee-in-chief David Schwarz.
“They are very deserving,” said Schwarz. “They’re both first-year officials, they showed great promise and desire this year with a real positive attitude and a willingness to learn and improve.”
Most young officials pay their own way to the school, a cost of $500 plus HST. Through OMAHA, however, officials can receive funding to attend.
“I felt that by sending them to the summer officiating school it would be a really good way for them to improve, develop and have some fun at the same time,” said Schwarz, noting OMAHA takes nominations from around the Okanagan. “I’m excited and proud of them.”
Luchkanych says the opportunity to attend the school is exciting because he hadn’t considered going.
“It really wasn’t something I was thinking about, but when I heard they put my name in I looked into it and it looks like a good opportunity,” he said. “It was pretty cool, it shows that they see some good things in me.”
For Luchkanych, who will play Midget hockey next season, officiating is another chance to be on the ice.
“I really like hockey so it’s another way for me to be at the arena,” he said.
“I really like being at the arena and it’s a good way to give back to the community because when I play my team needs refs too.”
After his first year officiating, Luchkanych says he has a greater appreciation for referees.
“Before I would wonder, but now I know how it is on the ice as a referee. It gives me more understanding and it makes it easier on the ref when people are understanding.”
For Dodge, officiating allows him to continue his involvement in hockey. Due to an injury, the young goalie won’t play next season.
“I am sticking with the sport but in a different form. Also I get paid instead of spending money,” he laughed, adding that skating has been the biggest challenge for him.
“To go from a goalie to a referee in one year was quite an amazing task in its own,” said SAMHA’s most-improved official.
“It’s a very good feeling because at the beginning of the year I didn’t think I would do very well and to be going to the camp and to be recommended is a big surprise and a nice feeling.”
As for enforcing rules on the ice, Dodge says confidence is key.
“I mostly ignore everyone and just pay attention to what I need to. What I call is what I call so they cant change that.”
During the BC Hockey Summer Officiating School Aug. 1 to 5, Dodge and Luchkanych will participate in both on-ice and off-ice activities.
“It’s a week of intense instruction and learning,” says Schwarz.