Hockey Saskatchewan Officiating Development Program Honours 'Most Deserving' Officials of 2023-24



By Hockey Saskatchewan

REGINA, Sask. – With more than 3,500 officials in the province, there is no shortage of individuals who need mentorship and support to develop and nurture their passion for officiating. The Hockey Saskatchewan Officiating Development Program's Most Deserving Official Award recognizes those officials who contribute not only on the ice but also off the ice, serving as official coaches, instructors, mentors, or administrators. This 2023-24 season, the four award winners from zones 1, 2, 3, and 4 fit this category perfectly, taking it upon themselves to give back to the program and help the next generation of officials.

(Zone 1) Rob Klassen – Carlyle

For the first time in five seasons, Rob, 48, decided not to put on the skates and stripes. Instead, he chose to work as an official coach in the southeast part of the province. Rob kept busy throughout the winter serving as an official coach and instructor, providing mentorship and coaching, and offering a different voice to officials in his area. He worked close to 30 games and completed all the reports, providing feedback for dozens of officials this season in the AA and Senior leagues, including serving as the eye in the sky for provincial final games. Last season, Rob worked well over 100 games on the ice and did an excellent job transitioning to the official coach’s role this season, certainly serving as a prime example of giving back and deserving of this award.

(Zone 2) Ken Buhnai – Regina

Like many officials, there comes a time when you see yourself working less on the ice as an official but aren’t ready to leave the program, feeling there is more to give to the game and to your fellow officials. Ken is the perfect example of that, as he still skates minor hockey games occasionally but has taken on the leadership role with the Hockey Regina official coaching program. Not only does Ken shadow and mentor many officials in their first or second seasons on the ice, but he also coordinates the program in Regina, scheduling others to help in the role and provide support on the ice for young officials. “The recognition is great, but the gratitude, improvement, and smiles are worth it,” Ken said after learning of the news he had been selected for the award. He plans to continue in the role next season and takes pride in seeing the improvement in his young officials, helping them work their way through the officiating development pathway.

(Zone 3) Darwin Seidler – Swift Current

Darwin has been a fixture in the Swift Current Minor Hockey Association. He's helped mentor numerous kids throughout the years, not only when he is asked to officiate the Under-7 and Under-9 games but also when he is on the ice with younger officials in the older age groups. He also officiates some upper-tier hockey at the AA and Senior levels all around the southwest. Darwin has developed a reputation for being reliable, as he consistently does a great job and can be trusted to officiate big games without a second thought at the end of the year. The 27-year veteran official conducts himself in a very professional manner off the ice as well, serving as a strong role model for the younger group of officials.

(Zone 4) Clayton Hall – Foam Lake

Clayton, another official with nearly 20 years of experience, has been a great mentor and leader in his area of the province. He was an instructor in the past and is considered the go-to contact to help track down officials for any level of hockey in the area. Clayton provides leadership on the ice with his passion for hockey and understanding of the role. He also has plenty of opportunities to work with younger officials and provide support for them either as a partner on the ice or a mentor watching a game. He continues to be the reliable and trusted option for minor hockey provincial games in his area and was once again assigned to skate a provincial final championship this season.


The Hockey Saskatchewan Officiating Development Program (ODP) is committed to enhancing officiating standards across all levels of hockey in the province. Through recruitment, education, and support, opportunities are provided for officials to excel and contribute to the vibrant hockey community in Saskatchewan. Visit the program's webpage at for additional information, and follow on X [@HockeySask_ODP] for updates.

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