Tyler Jensen, 19, began officiating hockey when he was playing Minor Hockey at the bantam level. His father Mike was officiating at the time and Tyler became interested. In just six years of officiating, his resume continues to grow and get stronger.
From July 14 to 19, he was in Camrose to attend the Hockey Alberta Official’s Development Camp. There he received professional instruction on how to properly officiate.
“This camp is considered one of the best camps for officials in Canada, so it’s a really good deal if you can get there,” said Jensen.Just to be selected for the camp was a feat. He said at the end of last season, he was one of about eighteen officials who attended a zone camp. The top four officials from the camp were selected to attend the summer development camp. He was second alternate, and was able to slip into one of the spots.
He joined eighteen of the best young referees in the province, ages 18-26 at the camp. There they were put through a boot camp of refereeing with instructors that officiate in the AJHL, WHL, and even the NHL. The camp included everything from on-ice and classroom sessions, to guest speakers, grueling conditioning sessions and team building exercises.
“The U16 tryouts for Team Alberta were at the same time, and we would referee the games,” said Jensen.
He said during these games, the officials would be videotaped during their performance, and instructors would evaluate their work.
The instruction at the camp was top-notch according to Jensen.
“The NHL instructor ran the on-ice session, so we would do drills that NHL officials would do to practice and keep in shape,” said Jensen. “He told us to show the drills to the young guys at home, and tell them, ‘this is what the referees in the NHL do.’”
Jensen simply enjoys refereeing.
“It’s interesting to be involved with the whole game. It’s actually pretty physical being out there skating. It gives you a different view,” he said.
He said this season he will continue refereeing Minor Hockey in Drumheller as well as Junior B and Midget AAA in Strathmore. He hopes to get in some time doing Junior A lines in the next couple of years.
“It’s just a matter of getting your name out there and proving you can do it,” he said.
Drumheller continues to be in need of more referees. Jensen says beyond the enjoyment of refereeing, it can offer a pretty good opportunity for pocket money.
“If you do a lot of games in a weekend, it is definitely good cash,” he says.
Craig Stanger, who referees with Jensen, says it’s exciting to watch Jensen move up the ranks, and one day he may be refereeing even higher levels of hockey. It shows the opportunities available for young people to get involved in officiating.
There will be a two-day clinic for referees in Drumheller on September 26 and 27 at the Civic Centre. For more information, contact Linda Lacher at 403-823-5394.