A retired NHL referee is training up the next generation of hockey referees in the highest professional standards of the game at a special weekend training session in Truro’s Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
Don Koharski began his referee career as a linesman in 1976 and retired in 2009 after reffing 1,719 regular season and 248 playoff matches. Helping him was serving NHL referee Jon MacIsaac, a native of Truro who now lives in Virginia.
“Integrity is probably the most important value, assertiveness, how to run a hockey game, being in control of yourself and your emotions,” said MacIsaac.
Budding hockey officials also learned the correct positions for both referees and linesmen and power skating drills on the ice. In the classroom, the students learned about game procedures and rules.
Forty-eight referees from Colchester County, elsewhere in Nova Scotia, Ontario and even Boston, Massachusetts attended the training camp in Truro on Aug. 11-12. Of the 48 students, some have been officiating hockey games for up to 10 years, while others have only just made the transition from players to officiators.
Koharski said that the training session was the first of its kind in Truro, but MacIsaac added that they plan on being back next year.
For Koharski, the Rath Eastlink Community Centre is an ideal venue for classes like this.
“The facilities are outstanding, they laid out the red carpet for us,” said Koharski.
His son Jamie and brother Terry have also worked as referees. In 2016, Jamie left refereeing to become an advisor for the ECHL and USA Hockey’s officiating development program.
Koharski’s colleague MacIsaac refereed at the 2003 Canada Winter Games in Bathurst, New Brunswick. By age 25, he was officiating professional games in the Central Hockey League.
He was signed up to the NHL in 2012 and made his debut at the Nov. 21, 2013 game between the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.