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Youth Hockey Referee Spotlight Game

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, October 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 two game tickets to a Minnesota Wild game, they will be invited to meet the NHL referees before the game and will skate out with the referees for the National Anthem

Name: Isaac Suoja
Hometown: Mahtomedi, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 18
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, Junior Gold.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 2 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: U12
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I thought it would fun and help improve my personal game of hockey. Being a ref helps me see the game through a different lens.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite games to ref is when it's close scoring and down to wire. It's fun to be in that excitement.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Don't get worked up, hockey is a sport with variables.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Give the refs grace and trust the call.

Name: Logan Hamernik
Hometown: Rochester, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 18
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I played for Mayo High School Junior Varsity.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 3 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: PeeWee B1, Bantam B2.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A:My father is a referee; he was the one that really got me started. Reffing is a great way to stay connected to the sport and I really enjoy being on the ice.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory as a referee would probably be when I was working a Bantam AA tournament as a level one referee. It was very nerve racking because it was my first time working in a three-man system. I learned a lot from that experience and appreciated the more experienced refs that I learned from.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: I would tell them that all they need to do is support their child. The kid will get the most out of the youth hockey experience by living it. I would also ask them to respect the refs on the ice, we do our best to watch all play and make calls to keep the game safe. 
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Work on the basics. The best way to get players to the highest skill level they can is by continually working on the basic skating, passing, shooting (etc.) I would also ask the coaches to instill a level of respect for the refs as well.

Name: Quinnlyn Kenfield
Hometown: Red Lake Falls, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 14
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I have only played boys hockey and I am playing on our Bantam team this year.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 2 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts and Peewees.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I wanted to make some money, but my parents also wanted me to learn the game from a different view.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: I like to watch the little kids play.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: If you want to make the calls for the game, go and get registered and become an official.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Let us refs handle the game.

Name: Cooper Malkowski
Hometown: Bemidji, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 15
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: I am currently playing for my high-school hockey team, Bemidji Lumberjacks.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 4 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirt/10U, Peewee/12U.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A:To learn more about the game..
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Whenever I get to ref one of my little sister's games. She plays with the squirts this year. I haven't had to call a penalty on her yet but I think it is coming.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A:While we all, players and refs, try to not to make a mistake, hockey is a game of mistakes. Players and refs learn from making mistakes. Be patient and let us all be students of the game.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Same thing I would tell the youth hockey parents. Your players are making mistakes all through the game. I will do my best to see the game and call it fairly but there will be mistakes made. That's life.

Name: Olivia Morelan
Hometown: Faribault, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 18
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, the highest level of hockey I played was my high school varsity team.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 7 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I officiate Peewee level most often.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I loved playing hockey and officiating gave me the opportunity to be on the ice even more, but it also helped me understand the game itself more.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: I was officiating a U12 game and one of the little girls during a stoppage of play skated up to me, said hello, gave me the biggest smile, and then put her hand up to give me a high five.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Youth hockey is the time that your children have to learn how the game works and how to play. As a youth official, our job includes helping them to learn those things in a fun and safe way so that your children can play hockey in the best way possible. 
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Being a youth hockey coach is a great opportunity to help kids learn how to play hockey in a fun way while also teaching them about a team mentality and how to be a team player.

Name: Cameron Johnson
Hometown: Austin, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 16
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: I currently play varsity.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 5 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I officiate tier 3 juniors, and tier 1 youth mostly U18 and U16.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I fell in love with officiating at a very young age, and was officiating games on the playground in 4th grade. I became a ref because I love the game and I love officiating.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory is attending MHOA (Minnesota Hockey Officials Association) camp.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: I would tell a parent that this game isn't going to end your child's career. I'm going to make a mistake, I'm going to make calls that don't go your way, but know that I have no bias and that I will always be impartial.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: I would tell a coach that you control your team, your team feeds off of you. If you're negative to your team, they will play negatively. If you are rude and disrespectful to me, they will be rude and disrespectful to me, and that makes the game fun for nobody. I would also like to say thank you to coaches for giving back to the game.

Name: Nick Yavarow
Hometown: Bemidji, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 15
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, Bantam AA (2018-19); high school this year (2019-20).
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: Two, starting the third now.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts, Peewee
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: Sounded fun and can make some extra money.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Calling a goal off due to a high stick with 3 minutes left in a tied game.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Have fun.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Have fun.

 

Name: Shelby Breiland 
Hometown: Red Lake Falls, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 17
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I am currently a Junior and a member of the Varsity team for the Thief River Falls Prowlers. I have verbally committed to Bemidji State University to further my hockey career after high school.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This will be my 5th year.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Mites, Squirts, 10U, 12U and Peewee's.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: To be able to learn the game from more than being just a player. Looking at the ice from a different point of view.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Being able to ref my younger brothers and sister, and meeting new people.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: There are things we will miss and there are calls that you are not always going to agree with. Please respect our calls. We are learning just as much as your son or daughter.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: We are learning as much as your players are. Please be patient with us.

Name: Cole Rahne
Hometown: Hutchinson, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 16
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I played through Bantams.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This will be my fifth year.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I normally do Squirts/10U, Peewees/12U, and Bantams.
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I became a referee because it was something I wanted to try, and I also wanted to learn more about the game.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory is my first game as the referee in the three-official system. I remember being nervous about how the game was going to go, but it went fine.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: We work hard to make the right call, but we also make mistakes.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Please remember that we are all here to make the game fun and safe for the kids.

 

Name: Paige Blattner
Hometown: Avon, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 15
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: I play defense and I am entering my third year of high school varsity hockey.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This will be my second year officiating.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Mostly squirts and 10U. 
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I love the sport of hockey and wanted to be more involved with the game.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Getting the chance to ref with my older brother.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Enjoy watching your kids develop throughout the years, and don't forget to tell them how much you like watching them play.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Have fun and be competitive, but remember they are just kids. Also, you can never do too many basic skating drills.

 


Melissa Federly along with 7 of her 8 kids, Devon (18), Ryllei (16), Beau (14), Ellery (11), Wyatt (11), Eli (9), and Gabe (6), were all able to attend the game and meet the NHL Referees for the night when the Wild took on the Colorado Avalanche on November 21, 2019. Their father, Chief Warrant Officer-2 Josh Federly, is currently deployed in Northwest Africa with the US Army where he is a construction engineer. 

 "I'm a lucky man because my wife does all of the above while maintaining a full-time job that often requires she be awake between 0230-0330 on her work days as a dialysis tech. I'm currently deployed to NW Africa with the US Army, but I don't have near the daunting task that my wife does. At any given time she knows exactly when and where each of our kids are, and who needs to be where and when, and that's no easy task", says Chief Warrant Officer-2 Josh Federly. 

 This October, the Minnesota Wild and NHLOA welcomed the Walker family to the Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers game on Tuesday, October 22nd as part of the Zebras Care program. Jeremy Walker is medically retired from active duty Air Force and is a Purple Heart recipient after serving in Afghanistan on combat convoys. His wife Stephanie Walker is currently deployed in Qatar where she is currently serving on her 3rd deployment. She works full time in logistics for the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron on the 133rd airlift wing. Prior to transitioning to active Air National Guard she was active duty Air Force for 6 years. 

At the game, the Walker family, Easton, 10, Titan, 8, and Brecken, 5, had a meet-and-greet with the NHL officials before the game. Brecken experienced his first Wild game and they all enjoyed the view from the zamboni tunnel prior to warmups.

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