On September 30th Cole and I arrived at the airport in the morning to catch a flight to Vancouver to attend the OPOE camp hosted by Hockey Canada. Going into the camp, I tried to gather as much information as I could from previous officials who had attended the camp in order to prepare myself for the weekend. The one comment I believe I gathered from almost everyone was how awful the yo-yo test is, and I can now tell you, they weren't wrong.

Cole and I were joined by David Shaw who was attending OPOE on behalf of Hockey Alberta. After arriving in Vancouver, we met the other officials from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and quickly caught a shuttle to the hotel. From there, we caught a ride to the arena where we jumped into a warm-up followed by a 1.5 hour skating session with Dave Smith from the NHL . These skating sessions consisted of numerous edge-work and power skating drills. We were also lucky enough to have the opportunity to skate with NHL referee Trevor Hanson, who had previously attended this camp and happened to be in town. After the skate, we went into a welcome meeting where we were introduced to Lance Roberts and Todd Anderson from Hockey Canada, as well as the other officials and representatives selected from Western Canada.

The next two days were extremely busy and tiring with games being held all weekend (Similar to the Midget AAA showcase held in Alberta), as well as fitness testing and another on ice session with Dave. All games were worked in the 4-man system and all games were supervised by one of the provincial chairs. I received some great feedback throughout the weekend, that I can hopefully bring back to Northzone and pass on to our younger officials to help develop their game. We concluded with exit meetings with Kevin Muench of the WHL and then flew home Sunday Night.

One of the best parts of this tournament was getting to meet and hear stories from the other officials from surrounding provinces that share the same passion and commitment to officiating.

It was a pleasure to be one of the officials selected to represent Hockey Alberta and the Northzone and I am grateful for having the chance to receive this experience from this camp.

Alex Homer

 

   

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