The rosters are ready to go. The coaches – Derek Plante and Jeremy Roenick – are working on their game plans. Now all that’s left are the officials.
USA Hockey has selected the two referees and two linesmen who will work the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-Americans Prospect Game. Referees Sean Fernandez and Jeremy Tufts will hit the ice alongside linesmen William Hancock III and Brent Hooks.
The All-American Prospect Game will take place on Thursday, September 24 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. It features 42 of the top U.S.-born prospects eligible for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
“Just like the players, these officials have been selected for this game based on their ability to be successful at higher levels of hockey,” said Matt Leaf, director of officiating education for USA Hockey. “The chance to officiate this game is both a reward for their past efforts and a showcase to the NHL and other leagues of what their potential can be.”
Here’s more on the officials from USA Hockey:
- Sean Fernandez is entering his first season as a full-time referee in the Southern Professional Hockey League. He will also partake in the ECHL after previously working in the North American Hockey League, United States Hockey League and Tier III junior leagues. Earlier this year, he worked the USHL’s Top Prospects Game.
“My development as an official has been quite the journey,” said Fernandez. “I started working in the [USA Hockey Officiating Development Program] in 2007 after I attended a regional camp up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. From there, I started working junior hockey throughout attending college at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After I graduated, a lot of doors opened up to live in league apartments and work my way up the ranks in junior hockey as well as working my first pro games.”
Fernandez also participated in USA Hockey’s Program of Merit Officiating Camp over the summer, which is focused on the top developing officials in the country.
- Jeremy Tufts will be a full-time referee in the ECHL for the first time after spending the last two years in the SPHL and USHL. His experience also extends to the NAHL. Tufts is also working the 2015 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament.
- William Hancock III officiated in the American Hockey League, SPHL and USHL a season ago. He also has experience in the ECHL and NAHL.
- Brent Hooks served as a linesman in the ECHL last season. Additionally, he has officiated in the AHL, NAHL, SPHL and USHL. Hooks was also selected to man the lines at the 2015 Traverse City NHL Prospects Tournament.
All four officials are products of the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program, which educates and assigns officials for Tier I, II and III junior leagues in the United States.
For more information on the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, or to purchase tickets, visit AllAmericanProspectsGame.com.
For a preview of the what to expect, check out highlights from last year’s game: