Zones 5-8: Hockey Saskatchewan's Most Deserving Official Awards
By Hockey Saskatchewan
REGINA, Sask. – This group of award winners continues to give back to the Hockey Saskatchewan Officitating Development Program and the sport not only through covering games on-ice and working at a high level but giving back off the ice either through official coaching and mentorship, instructing or administratively.
Without the passion and dedication from officials like these four award winners in the Most Deserving Official category, the program would not be as successful as it is with providing opportunities and an impressive on-ice product.
(Zone 5) Stephen Gray – Humboldt
Stephen started his officiating career in 1979 while living in Regina where he worked minor hockey and worked into Senior leagues in southern Saskatchewan. After attending Sask First in 1987, his career moved forward into U18 AAA, Junior A and Junior B and continued at those levels after moving to Humboldt in 1991 and earning his Level 4 in 1995. Like most who are officiating into their 50s, the game counts on the ice are starting to decrease, but Stephen stays involved by stepping up to help out younger officials as a mentor on the ice in the central area of the province.
(Zone 6) Mike Alford – Saskatoon
For the second straight season, Mike was named SMHA’s Most Dedicated Referee of the Year and this year he is also recognized provincially. Mike works all levels of minor hockey as an on- and off-ice mentor. He worked a total of 140 games this season and has become someone the assignor knows as hard working and someone they can count on. Mike has been officiating since 2010 when he signed up because his kids were interested in Prince Albert, and he wanted to ensure they had support and had positive experiences. His son Caleb, and daughter Karissa continue to officiate, and both have a similar passion to being on the ice like Mike does. He continues to be a mentor to help provide younger officials with support leading to positive experiences on the ice.
(Zone 7) Jessica Coleman – Battleford
Despite being a teacher, wife, and mother of two, Jessica finds a passion to continue her officiating career at a high level and help out the Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada officiating programs. Jessica, along with others across the country, were instrumental in the creation of the new clinic modules that were presented during the 2022-23 season. She also serves as the Female Development Coordinator on the Hockey Saskatchewan Grassroots Officiating Task Team and leads the newly formed Female Development Task Team. With all that on her plate, she often offers up her time to be an official coach during the Female Sask First Camps and Tournaments during the season. She also works as a virtual clinic instructor and on-ice session instructor during the clinic season. Jessica and her husband moved to the Battlefords from Ontario for their teaching careers and from there her officiating career has also progressed, as she received her National High Performance Certification this season and has worked games around the country including the Women’s professional league and the Esso Cup gold medal game this season.
(Zone 8) Mike Guitard – Prince Albert
Mike, like Jessica, started his officiating career in Ontario, and has been a key component for the Officiating Development Program in Saskatchewan especially over the past six years. He got involved as an official coach and instructor, which he continues to do. He then took on the role as the Zone 8 Coordinator under the former Referee’s Division and through the transition to the new program structure he transitioned to the Grassroots Development Task Team Chair. In this role, he leads the province-wide group which has a focus on coaching, recruitment, retention, education, and support for the grassroots level of officials working U15 levels of hockey and below. Mike also is a regular at the Sask First Camps and Tournaments as an official coach where he can take a lot of pride in helping move officials through the grassroots stage of their careers to the high-performance side of things. Mike has also helped his two sons, Matt and Marc, move through the pathway and earn higher level opportunities and takes pride in being able to jump on the ice with them and other officials occasionally to help with minor hockey, Senior and Junior B when he is called upon.
Congratulations to the four officials selected as Hockey Saskatchewan's 2022-23 Most Deserving Officials. These four are also nominated for the Hockey Canada Most Dedicated Official Award, which will be announced in August.