As pucks drop all across the world – and the province – Hockey Quebec is looking for a few good officials. To help get the word out, they’re enlisted support from those wearing stripes at the highest level: NHL referees and linesmen.
The Provincial Committee of Officials (OPC) is focused on this year’s theme of “No refs, no games” to stress the importance of officials to the game of hockey. They also want to show prospective referees and linesmen that officiating can be fun and that there’s a great deal of opportunity for those to get involved in officiating at all levels.
“I fell in love with the profession, the camaraderie, the team spirit, and the challenge,” said referee Francois St. Laurent. “Today, I’m in the National Hockey League.”
In addition to St. Laurent, NHL officials Francis Charron, Michel Cormier, Éric Furlatt, Marc Joanette, Frédérick L’écuyer, Pierre Lambert, Jonny Murray, Pierre Racicot, and Justin St-Pierre lent their support to the initiative by sharing their thoughts on officiating.
“My father made me start refereeing to help me skate better and it became a passion,” said Lambert. “I decided to pursue my career as an official, and today I work in the NHL.”
Referee Éric Furlatt hit on the tipping point on transitioning from a player to an official.
“At a certain point, I had to make a choice: do I still want to play or do I want to referee?” said Furlatt. “At that time, I chose refereeing, and today, I’m in the NHL.”
Furlatt made his NHL debut in 2001, two years after referee Marc Joannette first skated on NHL ice. Joannette went from $2 a game when he started wearing stripes at age 14 to a 20-year professional career.
Linesman Jonny Murray picked up his whistle around the same age.
“At about 14-15 years old I started refereeing,” said Murray. ” It was a great way for me to make a bit of money. It gave me the opportunity to build a career around [officiating].Hockey Quebec is looking for a few good officials, and they’ve enlisted support from those wearing stripes at the highest level: NHL referees and linesmen
From Hockey Quebec:
Officiating is an excellent avenue for players, including high-level players, who want to pursue their hockey career, while being paid. By knowing the rules of the game, former players become excellent potential candidates for this role. The diversity of the availability of game, whether day, evening or over the weekend, also offers a range of opportunities to complement everyone’s daily schedules. In addition, the federation offers interactive training tools with current teaching methods to help teach the next generation of officials in Quebec.
For more info on officiating with Hockey Quebec, visit officiels.hockey.qc.ca