From the Brantford Expositor:
It was hard not to notice Jim Carman when he wore black and white on the ice.
But Carman, a Mount Pleasant resident who refereed in the Ontario Hockey League for 29 years, never thought he’d be noticed the way he was on Thursday night at the Best Western-Brant Park Inn.
“You never really think about it,” Carman said prior to a ceremony where he was inducted into the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of recognition. “You’re just focused on your career and doing the best job that you can do. When your career is over, it’s over.
“It’s pretty amazing and very humbling.”
Carman joined fellow honourees Dan Mandich and Dan Gratton (hockey) and Terry Ireland (football) as inductees on Thursday.
Carman went in as a builder for his work as a hockey referee.
The now 64-year-old played minor hockey and found changing jerseys about as difficult as those who came before and after him.
“As a player you never missed an offside, you never missed a call,” he said. “Now all of a sudden you’ve got this (referee) jersey on and everybody is at you.”
Despite how tough it can be at local rinks as a referee, Carman said he came across a lot of good minor hockey people who took him under their wings. That allowed him to gain confidence and get better. Eventually, he made it to the OHL.
He refereed for 29 years, officiating in six Memorial Cup Canadian junior hockey championships. But it was after those players moved on from the junior ranks that Carman experienced one of the biggest joys in his job.
“I guess the highlight for me is when those kids get drafted into the National (Hockey) League and you sit on Saturday night or a Wednesday night and say, ‘Oh yeah, I refereed that guy,'” he said.
“That’s really the highlight for me. I get a big kick out of watching guys I refereed in major junior who have really excelled in the (NHL).”
Another highlight for Carman was refereeing at the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France.
“You’re under tremendous scrutiny there,” he said. “You have to be on top of your game there.”
After refereeing 1,107 regular-season games, 293 playoff games and 16 Memorial Cup games, did he ever think about the NHL?
“It’s always a goal but back when I was thinking about going to the (NHL), I was making more at my job than what they were paying,” he said. “It’s great to have the prestige of being part of the league but it didn’t put bread and butter on the table.”
Carman used to supervise in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. But he’s scaled back and does consulting work with different associations, looking at up-and-coming referees while trying to help them get to the next level.
“There’s been a few guys where I’ve gone to a centre and worked with some guys and they’ve got hired through the OHL,” he said. “That’s kind of rewarding for me.”
Carman said his wife, Jayne, and children, Jamie and Jason, were expected to be at Thursday’s ceremony.
“It’s an amazing honour to be selected,” he said. “Whether you go into the Hockey Hall of Fame or you get recognized by your local municipality, it’s a huge honour. You can’t believe how humbling it is.
“This is right up there with Memorial Cups and the Olympics.”