For referees in British Columbia, summer school is in session. Junior referees have given up part of their offseason to refine their games with the help of NHL referee Steve Kozari at Kozari’s Officiating School.

“We have got some great young talent here,” said NHL referee and lead instructor Steve Kozari to the Penticton Western News. “They are learning each and every day. They are progressing, which is what we want.”

The officials are evaluated while they work games for Okanagan Hockey School showcase tournaments.

They are put through power skating sessions, go over video and have lectures midday.

“We never had this when we were younger,” said Kozari. “We would sit in the classroom for eight hours, go through a rule book, ask questions about certain situations. They get critiqued after each game.”

Kozari’s last game this season was also the final NHL game played.  The veteran referee, working his first Stanley Cup Final, officiated the decisive Game 5 between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.  In his 11-year NHL career, he’s covered 537 regular season games and made 53 postseason appearances.  Prior to joining the NHL, Kozari spent ten years officiating in the WHL.

Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Officials with the Stanley Cup. From Left, referee Brad Watson, linesman Scott Driscoll, linesman Shane Heyer, and referee Steve Kozari. (Image courtesy J. Kozari)

Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Officials with the Stanley Cup. From Left, referee Brad Watson, linesman Scott Driscoll, linesman Shane Heyer, and referee Steve Kozari. (Image courtesy J. Kozari)

He’s joined at camp by two of his colleagues, referee Kyle Rehman and veteran linesman Brad Lazarowich.  Rehman’s a seven-year NHL ref with over 300 games under his belt, along with working two AHL Calder Cups and two Memorial Cups.  Lazarowich has been a linesman in the NHL for 28 years, having worked over 2,000 games between the regular season and playoffs.

Lazarowich is happy to work with younger officials and help in their development.  “You feel like you want to give something back and this is something I can do where I think I can help contribute to the development of some of the young guys coming up,” he said earlier this season on his involvement with junior referees and his role as Associate Director of Officiating for the BCHL. “It’s really fun to work with young guys who want to learn.”

Speaking of fun, it sounds like the zebras are enjoying themselves on the ice in the Okanagan valley:

https://twitter.com/RefTillDeath/status/486383062901460992

Penticton Western News reporter Emanuel Sequeira also spoke with camp participant Jake Stubbs.

“[The camp is] all about constructive criticism,” said Stubbs. “There’s no point in spending a $1,000 ($549 for the camp) to come up here for a week and get babied through and say, ‘Hey, you did a great job.’ I want all the criticism I can get.”

 Here’s a peek at what goes on at Kozari’s Officiating School.  While this year’s sessions are done, you can start making plans for 2015.


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