Originally published by the Central Hockey League:

NHL Exposure Officials Camp Diary by  Jake Brenk

From August 22 through August 24, my teammates Mitch Macpherson, Ryan Elbers and Brandon Gawryletz took part in the NHL Exposure Combine in Buffalo, NY, representing the CHL.

The camp ran four days and consisted of on and off-ice testing and was put on by Stephen Walkom and his staff.

CHL Referee Jake Brenk

CHL Referee Jake Brenk (Image: Les Stockton)

Nearly 60 current and ex-players attended from various backgrounds with representatives from just about every pro and Tier 1 league in North America in attendance, supervising and scouting, including the CHL’s director of officiating Wayne Bonney.

The testing was run by Dave Smith who has been employed with the NHL for sometime now. I had a chance to chat with him and his son Jake and they are both really great people that have a real passion for our game.  What stuck out to me most was the passion that Walkom and his staff of Hall, McCourt, Wheler, and Kimmel have for improving officiating not only in their league but around the world.

Current NHL officials Wes McCauley and Scott Cherrey made appearances and spoke to us about their paths in hockey and getting to the NHL level. We really enjoyed this as they were both college / junior players who went on and played pro hockey after being drafted by NHL teams just like myself so it was very thrilling for me personally.  [Brenk was drafted in the 5th round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers]

Also, Hall of Famer [former Maple Leafs General Manager and current NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations] Jim Gregory was in attendance the whole week. He is a guy that just loves being in the rink as much as us. He has spent his life in hockey and is known as somewhat of a pioneer for being one of the first guys to bring over European players while with the Maple Leafs.

The camp was spirited and tough like we expected and I think I speak for everyone when I say I was exhausted by the end. Mitch picked me up and dropped me off at the airport just like old times and it was great to see and spend time with him and Brandon. We have gone through a lot together and they are great friends away from the rink as well.

I want to personally thank Buffalo, the First Niagara Center, and the Harbor Center – namely Chris Ciamaga – for all those guys did for us officials in putting on a competitive, great camp.

Originally published by the Central Hockey League.


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