After 17 years in stripes, WHL referee Patrick Gagnon is hanging up the skates.
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) March 3, 2016
Gagnon discussed his retirement on social media.
Today is a day of mixed emotions. Being a hockey referee has been part of my life ever since I moved into Manitoba in 1999. I’ve been fortunate enough to excel at it and work many leagues that I used to dream about as a young official.
Tonight I work the game between the Brandon Wheatkings and the Saskatoon Blades before retiring as a Hockey Official. I do have lots of people to thank and I’m sure I’ll be able to reach out to each one of you soon. I leave with a heavy heart but also looking forward to spending more time at home with the best wife anyone could ask for and my 2 kids, Hadlee and Lexan.
He spoke with the Westman Journal about his career:
“I certainly will miss putting the stripes on,” he told the Journal.
Born in Comox, B.C., and raised in a military family, Gagnon lived in Germany for five years prior to moving to New Brunswick. He later moved to Manitoba where he eventually met his wife Stephanie, all the while, showing interest in officiating after his father – a referee himself – got Gagnon involved.
For years, Gagnon showcased his love for officiating on the ice, and in the process, quickly moved up the local referee ranks. Now a 30-year-old father of two children, Gagnon had been a hockey referee since 1999, eventually officiating midget AAA games in 2005, working regional championships as well as the Telus Cup. He began working Manitoba Junior Hockey League games in 2006 where he eventually was selected to represent the Junior A league at the first ever Western Canada Cup, held in Nanaimo in 2013, as well as the RBC Cup last year in Portage.
He eventually found himself in the Western Hockey League working Wheat Kings’ games in Brandon. He’s spent seven years in the league and has enjoyed the opportunity to work WHL playoff games as well as get on the road and work games in western Canada.
“The experience of working with players that will soon be NHL stars is pretty cool,” he told the Journal. “The part of it that I will miss the most is hanging out with the guys. The long drives that we endured together made for great stories and memories.”
Our best to Patrick in his retirement!