Not every hockey dream is about scoring that overtime, game-winning goal.   Some actually want to take the ice in stripes.

Ross Coyle over at the Kent Reporter wrote up a great feature on one such official, rookie WHL referee Al Creigh.  An excerpt is below; head over to read the full story.

Creigh, a 26-year-old aeronautical engineering student at the University of Washington from Sumner, first started officiating at the age of 15 for midget league games at the Kent Valley Ice Centre.

“I completely hated it when I first started doing it,” he says with a chuckle. “Sometimes coaches and players and even some of the parents can be a little hostile, so it can be intimidating for a young guy to be out there.”

During his first few games, Creigh […] struggled to keep up with the rapid pace. Timing each call and keeping up with the game can be one of the hardest skills for a referee to develop. He has a limited window of time available to make each call, but the ramifications of that call can change a game or even a career.

“Whenever I make a call, I have a split-second decision to make a call that everyone has a lifetime to look back on, so I make the best decision that I have to look back on,” Creigh said.

This is Creigh’s first season officiating in the Western Hockey League (WHL), and he’s worked seven Seattle Thunderbirds games at the ShoWare Center.

As each game begins, Creigh takes 20 to 30 seconds to do a lap around the rink and warm up, and he says that’s his time to think “‘you did it man, you’re out here,’ and that’s kind of a cool experience.”

Check out the full story available at the Kent Reporter.