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Youth Hockey Referee Spotlight

The Minnesota Wild, in partnership with Minnesota Hockey and the Positive Coaching Alliance, will honor one male and one female youth hockey referee per month, December through March, as part of the Youth Hockey Referee Spotlight Program. Honorees will be selected by the Minnesota Hockey Officials Association (MHOA). 

Each referee will receive a virtual meet and greet with NHL referees, an autographed photo of a Minnesota Wild player, and be highlighted on social media and the webpage throughout the month of their nomination.

Name: Alex Malecha
Hometown: Bloomington, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 14

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Kirill Kaprizov
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I play Bantam BZ for Bloomington Jefferson.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This is currently my second year.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I officiate squirts, 10U and 12U
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I wanted to get more skating time in the offseason and during the season.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Reffing two games at Mariucci Arena.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: You're there to watch the game and let the refs make the calls because they are trying their best.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: If you don't like my call, yelling at me isn't going to change my mind.

Name: Lainey Olson
Hometown: Minnetonka, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 15

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Zach Parise
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I currently play for Minnetonka at the 15A level. 
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This is my first year.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: Because my Dad and Grandpa were both professional referees. 
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Getting told that I did really well after a game that was higher level.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent?
A: I'm not going to call a penalty every time a kid falls or trips over their feet. 
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach?
A: Yelling at me to make a call isn't going to do anything. Whatever decision I made isn't suddenly going to change because you're shouting at me. 

Name: Evan Dzurik
Hometown: Forest Lake, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 16

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Kevin Fiala or Kirill Kaprizov
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I am currently on the Forest Lake Boys Varsity Hockey Team.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This is my third year.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: 12u girls, Squirts, and PeeWees
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I love the game and I love skating. I realized there is no better job if I can get paid to skate and be where I love.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: The MOST MEMORABLE moment was when I reffed my third ever game. I was reffing 10u girls at Tartan. I was standing at the blue line when I heard parents yelling. I had no idea what to do because I did not know what was wrong. I look at the goalie at the other end of the ice and she was on her knees. After a few seconds of hesitation, I blew the whistle. I skated over to her and she was in a puddle of her own vomit. Thankfully, I was not in charge of cleaning it up.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: I would tell a youth hockey parent that just because their little boy or girl fell down on the ice, there is not always going to be a penalty. This is hockey. There will be body contact and they will fall down.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: I would tell a coach that nothing they say will change my mind. I officiate the game based on what I see and my decision is final. I do not care what they think they saw.

Name: Amy Foster
Hometown: Minnetonka, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 17

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Alex Stalock
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I am on the Minnetonka High school team and last year I had a great experience going to state.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 3 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirt B, U10 A and U10 B
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I thought that it would be a fun high school job as well as letting me out skating because normally I play goalie.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Getting asked to ref a game that was at a higher skill level and reffing with my mom.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent?
A: Be there for your kids and support them no matter the outcome of the game.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach?
A: Let the Refs do their job and have them call icings and penalties. You do your job.

Name: Daniel Halonen
Hometown: Delano, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 13

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Kirill Kaprizov
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, Peewee A.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 2 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: 10U and Squirts.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: To save money for when I get older.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Reffing my first game.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Refs are not always perfect.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: The players are just kids, they are not NHL'ers.

Name: Maggie Albers
Hometown: Maple Grove, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 15

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Zach Parise
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes. I currently play HS Varsity hockey.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 2 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts and U10s.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: Because I like hockey and like the extra ice time. 
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Reffing with my dad.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent?
A: The players can't hear you.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach?
A: Hockey is fun. Don't be "that guy."

Name: Colin Bos
Hometown: Willmar, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 16

Q: Who is your favorite Minnesota Wild player?
A: Kevin Fiala
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I play high school hockey.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 4 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirt and PeeWee.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: It seemed like a fun way to make money and be part of hockey in a different way.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Well reffing both me and my partner got taken out at the same time.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Not every time your child falls it's a penalty.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Yelling at calls you disagree with isn't going to change the outcome.

Name: Norah Wendling
Hometown: Hutchinson, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 13
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, high school.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 3 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: 10U and Squirts
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I love hockey and it was another way to get involved in the game.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Reffing with my dad.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent?
A: To have fun and enjoy watching your kid.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach?
A: Refs are all trying their best.

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