Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Minnesota Wild

 

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: Gillian McDonald
Hometown: New Brighton, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 24

Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: I played goalie at UW-River Falls (Division III), but I hung up the pads and currently skate as a forward in Minnesota's old lady league (WHAM)…so I guess you could say I've made it to the big leagues.

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: I'm currently in my second year of officiating.

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I mainly officiate WHAM (hockey league for women 18 and older) throughout the winter, and I officiate a wide range of levels in the off-season - from 8U girls to Bantams.

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I love hockey and have been around it my entire life. Before officiating, I had been a goaltender, skated as a forward, and currently coach as an assistant for Minneapolis Girls High School hockey, but I had never seen the game from the referee's perspective. Officiating is a completely new challenge that teaches me aspects of the game to which I was previously blind. ** 

**some coaches might argue I'm still blind.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: I was officiating an 8U girls game this past summer when one of the players stopped in the middle of play to tell me she liked my earrings.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Officiating is the most enjoyable when the kids are having fun, so foster their competitive spirit while also encouraging them to have a good time on the ice. It's possible to go hard during play and still share laughs with teammates and competitors between whistles.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Almost all referees are as determined to make correct calls as coaches are to win. Nevertheless, referees are bound to make mistakes. If they own up to them, please be understanding.

Name: Andrew Weber 
Hometown: Waseca, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 20

Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I played all the way through my senior year in I high school. I was a goalie who started varsity as a sophomore till I graduated. Had the chance to go off and play Juniors, but said no to instead go to school.

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 7 years  

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: I ref all the way from squirts to high school. 

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I became a referee because it was going to be a way once I was done playing to stay around the game and give back to it. I love everything there is about officiating from calling a simple tripping call all the way to having a conversation with the coach about the call on the ice. 

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory as a referee would be being able to work a few games with Jack Carlson, a former member of the North Stars and a Hanson Brother. Being able to meet and work with a legend to me in the history of Minnesota Hockey was easily my favorite memory. I got to know Jack and I know this is a bit weird but after meeting him and seeing the size of his hands I am glad I was not fighting against him during his time in the league. 
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Make sure to ask your kid from time to time if they're having fun playing the game. This I believe is important because you shouldn't be doing something unless you're having fun at it.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: To understand that us officials put in a lot of work to get where we are at. I'm only 20 and I work all the way from squirts to high school games. Being able to work high school games takes lots of practice, knowledge, and skill which is something I have worked hard at over the years to get where I am today. I would tell them this because they might not agree with everything I call and don't call, but that I know what my job entails and I can do it properly.

 

Name: Hayley Estes
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Q:  What is your age?
A: 24

Q:  Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A:  Yes, NCAA D3 at the University of St. Thomas.

Q:  How many years have you been officiating?
A:  Three years.

Q:  What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A:  Girls' High School and WHAM.

Q:  Why did you become a referee?
A: I was already coaching and playing so giving back and learning the game as an official was the final piece!

Q:  What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Honestly, there is no 'one' favorite memory. The games I get to officiate from the youngest of players learning the sport, to the pride of high school competition, to the community of women's hockey, all make officiating that much more rewarding.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A:  Hockey is a tremendous tool on and off the ice for many life skills. Be sure to leverage this in helping build a positive learning environment.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Understand the needs of each player as it relates to the team and that having fun leads to success. 

Name: Dan Bell
Hometown: Eagan, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 24

Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, I played high school JV/V.

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: I have been officiating for 10 years.

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Mostly any youth level & high school.

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I became referee because my dad said no other part time job pays $30/hour plus ice time.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory was the 1st college game I officiated, the St. Thomas vs St. Johns men's college rivalry.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Cheer don't jeer.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Help us help you, just talk with us don't scream.

 

Name: Nick Sherek
Hometown: Eagan, 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 currently am playing varsity hockey at Eagan.

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: I started during my freshman year when I was 15.

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: The levels I officiate most are Peewee and U12.

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I became a referee because it was fun, easy money and understand the game better.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory as a referee was my first ever game when I was lost out on the ice and my reffing assigner was pretty much whispering in my ear where to be.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: The kids are out there for fun, not necessarily to score every goal.

Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Even though you know a lot about hockey, it is the officials job to know the rules and officiate to the best of their abilities.

 

Name: Anna Van Berkom
Hometown: Ham Lake, MN

Q:  What is your age?
A: 22

Q:  Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A:  I played for Blaine High School.

Q:  How many years have you been officiating?
A:  This is my second year.

Q:  What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A:  Squirt levels.

Q:  Why did you become a referee?
A: I wanted to be able to stay involved with the sport. Hockey has always been a big part of my life, and being able to keep up with it has been so much fun.

Q:  What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: I was about to do the faceoff to start the third period, when one of the centers looked at the other and said "great game so far guys, this is fun". It was a really great moment of sportsmanship and reminding us all what the game is about.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A:  Don't forget, the most important thing is having fun both playing and watching the games.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Lead by example, and remember that referees are people too.

Name: Natalie Bordson
Hometown: Apple Valley, 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 currently play on the Eastview girls varsity hockey team

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This is my second year officiating

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts or Girls U12

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I wanted to become a referee because I love to be on the ice and I wanted to have a job that involved hockey. My friend and I decided to join together last season. 

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory is when I reffed with my best friend Emma, we were so excited to finally have a game together. I remember after the game the coaches came up to us and said how good of a job we did and how cool it was to have two girl refs for the game. 
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: I would like to tell a youth coach to continue to respect officials because we are all on the same team and want the best for the kids playing. 

 

Name: Cole Buhl
Hometown: South Saint Paul, MN

Q:  What is your age?
A: 21

Q:  Did you play competitive hockey?  If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A:  Yes, I played all the way up to juniors in St. Cloud for Granite City Lumberjacks

Q:  How many years have you been officiating?
A:  8 years

Q:  What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A:  Youth hockey and High School hockey

Q:  Why did you become a referee?
A: Paul Moen got me into reffing, and as well to give back to the game.

Q:  What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A:   Seeing kids have fun and enjoy the game.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A:  Don't be too hard on your kid. The most important thing is that they are having fun and getting better. 
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A:  Respect the game and let the kids have fun and play. 

Name: Gavin Jocelyn
Hometown: St. Michael, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 20

Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes, played through high school

Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: This will be my 4th year

Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Bantams and High School

Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: To stay connected to the game.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: Officiating the bantam B state tournament last year.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Officials do a lot of training and we wouldn't be on the ice if we weren't capable and qualified to officiate.   
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: Yelling at or arguing with officials will not help any situation.

 

Name: Baylee Beulke
Hometown: Maple Grove, 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, varsity high school hockey

Q:  How many years have you been officiating?
A:  This will be my 4th year

Q:  What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A:  U15A

Q:  Why did you become a referee?
A: I became a ref to be around the game of hockey more and spend time teaching younger kids the rules all while getting good exercise.

Q:  What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A:   My favorite memories have been reffing the U12A state tournaments and getting to spend time with fun people who also love the sport of hockey as much as I do.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A:  I would like to tell hockey parents to go to the games to enjoy watching their kids and not to forget that winning or losing doesn't matter as long as their child is having fun.
 
Q:  What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A:  I would like to tell hockey coaches to read the rulebook, so they have a better understanding of the rules before getting upset with the referees.

Name: BRUCE HALONEN
Hometown: DELANO, 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 B1
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: 3 years
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: Squirts
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I became a referee because my older brothers and my older sister were and they told me it was fun and good pay.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory as a referee was in a SB game. The goalie on the losing team would yell at his defense every time they would let up a goal. He then started calling his defense "bad."
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: To enjoy the game and know that the refs are trying their best.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: That their job is to improve and focus on their players not the refs.

 

Name: KAELYN SZYMANSKI
Hometown: SAUK RAPIDS, MN

Q: What is your age?
A: 21
 
Q: Did you play competitive hockey? If yes, what was the highest level of hockey that you played?
A: Yes! The highest level I played was High School hockey.
 
Q: How many years have you been officiating?
A: I have been officiating for four years.
 
Q: What level(s) do you officiate most often?
A: The level I officiate the most often is 15/16U. 
 
Q: Why did you become a referee?
A: I love the sport of hockey.
 
Q: What is your favorite memory as a referee?
A: My favorite memory was being the head referee and my two older brothers being the linesman.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey parent? 
A: Enjoy watching the game and lets us refs do the best that we can.
 
Q: What is one thing you would like to tell a youth hockey coach? 
A: It can be intimidating and discourages people from learning or wanting to be a referee when coaches yell at new officials.

 


 

November 15, 2018

This month's Zebras Care visit welcomed six-year-old Aiden Bonebrake and his mother Jolene to Xcel Energy Center for the Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Cunucks game on November 15, 2018. Both of Aiden's parents, Jolene and Cory, served in the Army National Guard for 23 years, and have been on a combined six deployments. This past September, Cory and the Minnesota National Guard's Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division left for deployment in Kuwait, they will return home in July 2019. This past year, Jolene retired after 23 years of service, and is currently working as a programmer at the VA Medical Center.

At their first ever Minnesota Wild game, Aiden, his cousin Kaden, mother Jolene, and grandfather had a busy night. They first met with the NHL referees before pre-game warm-ups, both receiving a Zebras Care gift pack, courtesy of the NHL Officials Association. After their meet and greet, Aiden and Kaden went in the player tunnel to give fist bumps to the Wild players, giving the team all the luck the Wild needed to win, 6-2.  

Follow the Wild

Stay connected with the latest news and scores

    

Sign Up for E-News

Our Ice

Exclusive Audio

State of Hockey