A Williams Lake minor hockey player is seeing the game through new lenses.
Benn Taylor, a team member and captain with the Williams Lake Midget Rep Timberwolves, has been a BC Hockey official for the past two years and is making the most of it.
“I started reffing when I was a second-year peewee player,” Taylor said. “I’m just kind of going with it and I’ll see what happens — see where it can take me and keep my options going.”
The Officiating Program, a part of BC Hockey, is structured by levels with level one — for officials aged 12 to 15 — being the launching pad.
“Every year there’s a clinic and you’ve got to go do a test,” Taylor said.
“Once you turn 16 you have to do level two and you need to get 70 per cent on the exam to qualify.”
Being a level two referee has qualified Taylor to officiate competitive minor hockey — even games in his own league.
In November the Timberwolves and Taylor travelled to Quesnel for the Quesnel Midget Rep Tournament.
The head official for the area knew Taylor was coming to play in the tournament, so, he asked him to bring his referee gear.
“It was weird. We played Terrace on the Saturday morning and I was reffing their game the night before so I was kind of scouting them out,” Taylor joked.
“Then I lined with the Prince George team that we have to play at provincials and I knew one of the kids on their team — he did a double take when he saw me out there. It was different.”
Earlier in the year Taylor was asked to help line the 100 Mile Wranglers’ Junior B spring camp.
“That level of play was good [to officiate],” he said. “It was faster, bigger guys. It’s all experience.”
Based on his performance at the Quesnel Midget Rep Tournament Taylor was recommended by the regional referee in chief to take his level three officiating course next year, which will qualify him to officiate minor hockey playoffs.
Taylor said aside from making a little cash, it’s a great way to get some exercise.
“I do it to keep in shape mostly,” he said. “You’re up and down, up and down the ice, and if it’s a good game I’ll be as sweaty as the players.”
For more on BC Hockey’s Officiating Program visit www.bchockey.net/Officiating/GettingStarted.aspx.