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Masstown official gets call to the Q

Sam Currie of Masstown will work as a linesman in the QMJHL this season.
Sam Currie of Masstown will work as a linesman in the QMJHL this season. - Contributed

TRURO, N.S. – Sam Currie’s on-ice schedule just got a little more hectic.

After 11 years as a hockey official at various levels, Currie will lace up the blades this season as a linesman in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“It’s a pretty big step,” said Currie, 21, who is making his QMJHL debut tonight, Sept. 27 in Halifax, where the Mooseheads will host the Charlottetown Islanders for their home opener. “It’s going to be cool, it’s a bigger stage, obviously, there’s more on the line … just one step closer to the end goal, really.”

The end goal, he says, is “the NHL."

Currie, from Masstown, has been on the Q-league’s radar as an official for about five years. He has attended three Don Koharski refereeing camps in New Brunswick and has worked several high-level games in Atlantic University Sport, Maritime junior A and Nova Scotia junior B leagues. He also officiated an Atlantic Challenge Cup tournament, and as a 16-year-old worked the NSSAF Division 1 provincial championship.

He was informed this summer by Jean Morin, the QMJHL’s director of officiating, that he had been hired to work games for the league this season throughout the Maritimes.

“It hasn’t even sunk in yet, really,” Currie said. “Actually, tonight, looking back, it might start to, but it hasn’t really hit me yet. It was pretty surreal when they handed me the jersey with my number and the crest on the front; it was pretty amazing.”

As Fundy Zone supervisor of officials, Nelson Thompson has watched Currie grow and develop as an official, and said he isn’t surprised by the latest opportunity to come his way.

“He works hard at it and he knows what he wants,” Thompson, a former professional hockey referee, said. “I don’t think the Q is the last step on his ladder; I think he’s going to push himself to want to go further where he’s relatively young.”

Currie grew up around the rink and played minor hockey in Debert and Brookfield. He admits his playing skills were limited, but felt officiating would provide an opportunity to stay close to the game he loves.

“I knew I wasn’t going anywhere as a player and I had friends that played major bantam and major midget and stuff like that and I always wanted to be on the ice, but I couldn’t, so this is my way of getting to a higher level and being involved in the game and that’s the way I got my foot in the door.

“I was always the person that always wanted to be at the rink,” he added. “I’d show up on Saturday morning and stay all day, it didn’t really matter what I was doing, sweeping the floor or on the ice, I was just always happy being at the rink.”

Currie said his family has played a big role in helping him get to this point in his officiating career. He also credits Thompson, and NHL referee Jon McIsaac and his brother Jamie – a former high-level referee in the Maritimes – for their all-around support and feedback they provide following games.

On Saturday, Currie will work the lines for the Truro Bearcats MHL home opener against the Valley Wildcats.

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