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SIX NOVA SCOTIA OFFICIALS ASSIGNED TO 2015 CANADA WINTER GAMES
Feb. 17, 2015

The players on our male and female Canada Winter Games hockey teams won’t be the only Nova Scotians on the ice in Prince George, BC this month. Six officials from our province will also be taking part in the Games.

“It’s a huge honour to have six officials represent the branch and the officiating program at the Canada Games,” Hockey Nova Scotia referee-in-chief Todd Robinson said. “It’s a little bit of validation, too, that says we have some good things happening with our development programs, the instruction that is being given and the group of young men and women that we’ve got coming up through the program so it’s just all positive.”


On the female side, referee Emilee Bendell (Gaetz Brook) and linesman Morgan Greek will be representing the province. In male competition, Nova Scotia will be sending referee Liam Wadden (Hubley) and linesmen Sean Hagen (Cole Harbour), Coady MacNaughton (Westville) and Josh Coote (Tantallon).



“I’m excited for them,” said Robinson. “It’s a great opportunity for them and we’re just really, really pleased. It’s tough enough to get there as a player but when you factor in that each event only has twenty officials from across Canada, that’s one hockey team. So it’s really tough and they should be really proud of themselves.”


With six officials each, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have the largest contingents of officials at the Games.


“My expectation for them is to go and enjoy the experience, have fun and do the job that I know they can do and everything else will be fine,” Robinson said. “I think they’re going to be better officials thanks to this experience and they’re going to be able to share those experiences with the program. We too often hear the negative side and there is a tremendous positive side to this so they’re going to experience some of that and be able to share that back with other officials.”


Good luck to Emilee, Coady, Liam, Sean, Josh and Morgan! We know you will make us proud.


MEET OUR OFFICIALS
 


Emilee Bendell

Referee
Hometown: Gaetz Brook
Age: 24
Years officiating: 11


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?

It’s one step closer to my ultimate goal: The Olympics.


It’s what I’ve been working towards since I began playing hockey. I take it very seriously. None of this would be possible without the love and support of my family.


Todd [Robinson, Hockey Nova Scotia’s referee-in-chief] has done so much for the program. We have a lot of support. I think that’s what’s making the program so great. We have six people who were selected to go out there so obviously we have an amazing program.



How did you first get involved with officiating?

I was looking for my first job to be honest. When I was playing, I said, “I can do that.” I wanted to do it. Nobody pushed me, no one even suggested it to me. I just said, “That’s what I want to do.” I said, it since the beginning: this will be my first job and it will be my last. I don’t plan on ever quitting. Not until I can’t skate anymore!


What do you enjoy most about officiating?


It just gives me drive, it gives me goals and it’s just the love of the game. That’s the biggest one. I love the game so much. I go out there not because it’s a job – I don’t work when I referee – it’s going out, having fun and being a part of the game.



What is the toughest part about officiating?


The toughest part is when the teams and coaches try to play mind games with you. They try to get in your head. The biggest challenge for me is not listening to all of the rubbish.



What is your advice to young officials?


Keep at it. There are so many opportunities for female officials. You can go so far. That is what I was told when I was younger and it stayed with me. So I said, “If I can’t make it to the Olympics as a player, I’m making it as a ref.” I’ve said that since day one. So keep at it and be there for the right reasons. Don’t just be there for a paycheque. Be there for the game. Your intentions are very important.




Coady
MacNaughton
Linesman
Hometown:
Westville
Age: 22
Years officiating: 8


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?


It makes it seem like all of your hard work has paid off. You spend a lot of time at the rink, almost every single weekend from September to March or May. Just being picked for such a prestigious event, it kind of makes it all worth it. It’s kind of what you strive for.


The refereeing in Nova Scotia is pretty good compared to the rest of the country. Todd [Robinson, Hockey Nova Scotia’s referee-in-chief], does a lot of good programs and tries to bring guys through. He tries to identify people when they are pretty young and then push them through at different events - and then you finally get chosen for something like this. It’s pretty good.



How did you get your start?


I’m from a small town and growing up, you’re at the rink every weekend anyway. I used to time-keep a lot and so [officiating] was just a way to be on the ice more. I really loved the game and I started to take it really seriously when I got to university.



What do you enjoy most about officiating?


It’s really just the love of the game. I’m the type of guy that does a lot of scoreboard watching and box scores when [I’m] supposed to be doing classwork. I just love hockey.



Do you have any advice for young officials?


Keep working hard. Be able to accept criticism. After every game, you always have something to work on. No one is perfect. Just be able to take that criticism and turn it around. It will make you better and that’s what it’s all about.




Josh Coote

Linesman
Hometown:
Tantallon
Age: 21
Years officiating: 7


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?


It’s relief that your hard work has paid off. I mean, you want to be a part of something like this. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s hard to describe what it means because you’re passionate about it. This is a hobby more than a job for me. It’s something that I’m passionate about. To be honoured with an opportunity like this, it means a lot. It’s the greatest feeling.


Hockey Nova Scotia has a terrific officiating program and Todd [Robinson, Hockey Nova Scotia referee-in-chief] has done amazing work for us. He looks after us.



How did you first get involved with officiating?


When I was 13, I worked a landscaping job and I really enjoyed working. When I was going back to school the next year, I didn’t want to not have a source of income. I just love hockey and I thought [officiating] would be a good way to make some money. Actually, my dad kind of pushed me and encouraged me to do it and I’m glad he did. It’s something I have fallen in love with.



What do you enjoy most about officiating?


You just learn so much about the game. I stopped playing organized hockey during my final year of high school so just to be able to stay on my skates and be a part of the game and someone who matters to the game, that’s what pushed me on. Now to be on the ice with AUS players - that’s almost pro - it’s amazing.



What is the toughest part about officiating?


You get a lot of people on your case. In minor hockey, I think it matters less when people in the stands yell at you because you know you know more about the game than they do. But now, in the higher levels, when coaches call you out on something that you know you did wrong – we’re human, we make mistakes – that can be tough. You want to have a decent rapport with the coaches and players but it can be hard when they’re on your case sometimes. That’s tough. You want to make everything fair. You need to make everything fair.



Do you have any advice for young officials?

Just work hard and love what you do. Treat every game like it is playoffs. You can be at the rink for an Atom B or Atom House game on a weeknight and it might be hard to get motivated for those games but you have to know that it matters to the kids who are playing and it has to matter to you. Take pride in your job, take pride in what you do and just work hard.



Liam Wadden

Referee
Hometown:
Hubley
Age: 23
Years officiating: 7


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?


It’s definitely a big honour. It’s something I’ve looked at as a goal for the last number of years. When it was in Halifax, I went to all of the games at the Metro Centre.


The [Hockey Nova Scotia] logo carries a lot of weight on your chest. You’re out there wanting to do the best you can for the province. You’re representing Hockey Nova Scotia at the end of the day so you want to leave a good impression when you get out there and you want to represent Nova Scotia well in every game you work.


The development program that Nova Scotia has is great. Todd [Robinson, Hockey Nova Scotia’s referee-in-chief] has done a tremendous job in bringing guys up through the ranks from minor hockey to the Major Bantam league and then Major Midget and working your way up through the elite levels. The summer program that they offer in Antigonish was great for my development and I got to work some of the under-16 [male high performance program] hockey that the kids were trying out for. That was my first taste of seeing what was out there for me as a referee.



How did you first get involved with officiating?


I started when I was in Grade 11. I was playing high school hockey for Sir John A. My team manager was the referee-in-chief for TASA. After one of the games, we had a conversation and he talked about my skating. He thought reffing would be a good thing to do while I was going through high school and so when I graduated high school, I went into the Hockey Nova Scotia development camps and I saw the opportunities that were there for [officiating].



What do you enjoy most about officiating?


Right now, to be honest, I’m working hockey that I would never have been able to play at. Just sharing the ice with those guys, especially the AUS league – it is professional hockey – so it’s great hockey just to be a part of.



What is the toughest part about officiating?


At the end of the day, a team has to lose the game. We don’t have favourites when we’re out there. We just try to call the game and we can’t please everyone. We’re told when we’re not right!



What is your advice for young officials?


No matter what hockey you’re working, it’s all about the kids on the ice that are playing that game. If it’s a Novice, Atom, Peewee, Bantam game - whatever it is - it’s an NHL game to those kids that are on the ice. Go out there, work your best and do it for them. Give it your all every night you’re out there.




Sean Hagen

Linesman
Hometown:
Cole Harbour
Age: 21
Years officiating: 7


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?


It’s amazing. Just being selected to do a tournament of this magnitude, it’s humbling and I’m really excited for it.



How did you first get involved with officiating?


I played hockey my whole life and it just kind of made sense to make the transition to [officiating]. I was looking for a job, too, but I don’t really consider this job. I just get paid to do it!


What do you enjoy most about officiating?

Just the love of the game, really. It keeps me in it. Playing didn’t work out but [officiating] keeps me close to the game I love.



What is the toughest part about officiating?


You definitely get a lot of flak. Getting yelled at, once you get to the stage we are at now, you’re able to tune most of it out but starting out, that was definitely a big thing. I notice that the higher up you go in the levels, the more coaches and players know about the game so if they are yelling at you, usually there is a reason.



What is your advice for young officials?


I’d say stick with it. You are going to have bad games. You’re going to have games where coaches and players don’t agree with you. Just call your game, keep going, and give it your best shot.




Morgan Greek

Linesman
Hometown:
Chester
Age: 20
Years officiating: 8


What does it mean to you to be assigned to the Canada Winter Games?


I guess it means that all of the hard work over the years paid off. It’s a real eye-opener that you’re making it to the next level and you could make it to another level after this. International tournaments would be the big thing.


I think [Hockey Nova Scotia] has a great program. Like the Antigonish summer [high performance] program and the Atlantic Challenge Cup, Hockey Nova Scotia does such a good job with making their officials feel involved. They focus in on you and look after you. They let you know that if you’re working hard, you’re going to get the opportunities.



How did you first get involved with officiating?


I think my dad got me involved. He just kept reminding of all of the opportunities and how it can keep me in the game. I didn’t really go to an elite level as a player so I think just being a part of elite hockey - even if I’m not a player - is definitely why I keep at it.



What do you enjoy most about officiating?


I think it is earning respect every single game. You have to earn the respect of the coaches and the players and even the spectators. I think that’s a challenge - especially as a female official - because there might be some coaches that don’t believe that when I’m doing boys hockey [Major Midget and Major Bantam] which I mostly do, that I should be on the ice. I have to prove that I deserve to be there and that I am at that level.



What is the toughest part about officiating?

I guess it’s just doing your very best. Because all of the players are doing their very best, you want to be in the game and always at the top of your game.


What is your advice for young officials?


I think you just have to focus on your game. You’re going to have bad games, you’re going to have good games, you’re going to have games where you’re yelled at and games where nothing is said. I think you just have to focus on doing your best game every single game and just making sure you’re consistent through all of your games.




 
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