If you work hard and have a great attitude you will be rewarded!
written by Kelly Melanson

Greetings! I am a level three CHA referee in the branch of HNO (Hockey Northwestern Ontario) for 7 years now. Recently the OFSAA "AAA/AAAA" Boys High School provincial championships were held in Fort Frances Ontario. I was invited to do lines at the games over the course of three days. If we were "good enough" we were asked to continue on into the quarter finals.

        I will tell you, it was a long road to "get there". I have refereed hockey in the high school league for 6 years. I have done lines, refereed numerous league and playoff games. I have done lines for our Junior "A" SIJHL league for about four years. I have even did the lines for an AHL Intrasquad game for the Manitoba Moose. That was awesome!

        My story is this…..We have 8 home games with our local high school boys team here where I live. Only a few of us have been assigned to do games. Not because we cannot do the games, the assigner puts himself on almost all of the games giving no one else a chance. Political at best. There are at least 3 more level 3's that are able to do the hockey. So one of the more vocal referees' voiced his concerns to whoever would listen. It finally paid off. I was assigned to do 2 regular season games this year wearing the bands. The first game was the season opener, and I also did the season closer on the heels of a difficult game the last referee had(which happens to be the assigner). I was noticed while reffing that game, and was recommended by the league to do the playoffs wearing the "bands". I was so excited after working so hard through the minor hockey system to finally get a chance to be involved in the playoffs. The assigner could no longer deny I was able to work these games after he was told by the league to use me in the playoffs. It was a three game series, game 1 the assigner took himself, and I was assigned to referee game 2. The third if necessary the assigner was going to do. Game one the assigner had called 245 minutes in penalties against one team and 95 against the other, 6 players from each team suspended for the first ten minutes of game 2, 1 player from each team suspended 2 games for a post game altercation. As one could imagine game 2 was shaping up to be a "barn burner". I was the game 2 referee. Game 2 was one of the best games I have been involved with. Hard hitting, fast paced, back and forth, which was compared to a "AAA" Midget game. I called 6 penalties against one team and 7 on the other. No problems with anyone. From my perspective it was a great game. I went home after (I had to travel 1 1/2 hours) and was so pumped I could hardly sleep that night. Next day I get a call from the assigner, I am expecting to be asked to lines the last game. He says to me…The league does not want me to ref, they want you to do the Championship game. I felt bad for the guy being told they did not want him, but I was so excited and honored to do the final, again I couldn't sleep! All my hard work was finally paying off! Game three was another great game, called a total of 7 penalties between the both teams with winner going on to the OFSAA tournament in Fort Frances. After the game I was congratulated on the game by the league, coaches from both squads, and players. I felt so good it was awesome! When I was invited to OFSAA to do the lines, I was given another surprise when I got to the tournament. I was asked to referee one of the round robin games between Mount Carmel and Regioplois-Notre Dame. Things were good, I had a great game again, in fact all my games were great! I had so much fun. I went with a great attitude and it pays off huge dividends. At the end of the day, if you work hard and have a great attitude you will be rewarded!

Best Regards,
Kelly Melanson



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