Development in All Aspects of the Game - National Camp a Great Experience for Four Local Officials
Cambridge, ON. - Four local officials from the OHF received the invite to participate in the National U-17 Development Camp earlier this summer in Calgary, Alta.
The camp brought together the top 111 under-17 players from across the country as the first step in developing three Canadian national teams to compete at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Not only does the development camp provide players the opportunity to be immersed in a national camp, but it is also a great opportunity for selected staff and officials from across the country to showcase talent and further develop in their roles.
Selected from the OHF for their first taste of the national experience were Mackenzie Nichol (Listowel), Ryan Jenken (London) and Matthew Ceko (St. Catharines), while Chris Chapman (London) had been exposed to the Canadian Way prior to the development camp.
Ceko began officiating at the age of 15 with the intent to acquire a different perspective of the game while simultaneously playing AAA minor hockey. Following his minor hockey career, he continued officiating through his two years of Junior in the GOJHL. Now heading in his sixth season of on ice officiating, he will be skating into his fourth with the OHA, and first season with the OHL, ECHL and AHL.
“My experience at the U-17 was humbling. Being immersed in such a professional, and classy setting while being surrounded by great athletes and people; you get a first-hand understanding of the Hockey Canada Way. A way which starts by having good character people all buying into what it takes to be successful... and then trusting the process,” he said.
As for Chapman, he began officiating six seasons ago following his Jr. B career as a way to stay in the game. Currently going into his fifth year in the OHA, third as a referee and his third year as a lineman in the OHL. Last season, Chapman was awarded the ALLIANCE Hockey Referee of the Year, the year prior he was awarded Top Referee Prospect in the OHA. A few of his notable assignments have included officiating in OHL playoffs, 2018 Telus Cup, 2017 World U-17 Challenge, Sutherland Cup Finals and Schmalz Cup Finals.
While he was the only returning official from the OHF, being a part of a national program never ceases to amaze.
“The experience at the U-17 camp was amazing. It was a great chance to get to know some of the best officials across the country and have the chance to learn from each other. The camp was a great measuring stick to see where your game was at compared to the other high-level officials that were there,” he said. “Having representatives from professional leagues at the camp to watch you work and get to know you was a great asset to the camp for all of us with aspirations of continuing to move up the officiating ranks. The presentations and guest speakers were very valuable and the quality of the guests is something that is difficult to offer at a regional OPOE event.”
Chapman explains by attending camps such as these if gives those selected the opportunity to grow as an official and hopefully aid in his chances of being selected to work at Hockey Canada events in the future as a referee.
Following three seasons playing at the University of Guelph, Nichol decided to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and pursue officiating. Now in his third season, he is currently a referee with the Ontario Hockey Association as well as the Ontario Hockey League. This was his first national event.
Also called to attend the U-17 Dev camp for the first time, Jenken’s grew up playing hockey just outside of London in Ilderton. He began refereeing in his midget year, which he can vividly recall his first few games being a circus. Over his seven-year career, he has worked with the University of Waterloo, OMHA, ALLIANCE, GTHL and the OHA. Now entering the 2018-19 season, he will be refereeing in the Ontario Hockey League and will be continuing to work in the ECHL and AHL on a part time basis.