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Officials' development a high priority for BCHL
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - Submitted by BCHL Media
The BCHL's reputation for development is well known as it applies to hockey players but it also extends to the officials.

Current NHL officials Kelly Sutherland, Jay Sharrers, Rob Schick and Shane Heyer spent significant time honing their craft in the BCHL and more names are sure to be added to that list in the future.

That's because 28-year NHL linesman Brad Lazarowich, who is also the BCHL's assistant director of officiating, helps league ref boss Derek Adams to run a BCHL officials camp leading into each season. On Aug, 24 at Langley Twin Rinks, some 70 officials were put through their paces by Lazarowich and Adams.

"I know we're going to be sending lots of these guys on to the next levels of hockey and we'll see some of them in the NHL because they're committed to the job and take a really professional approach," said Lazarowich. "I'm passionate about helping them get better and it's rewarding because they're a very coachable group."

One of those in attendance was veteran BCHL referee Brett Iverson. Having already worked many games in the Western Hockey League and the American Hockey League, it would be easy to overlook the BCHL camp. He still made sure to be there even though he'd just returned from International Ice Hockey Federation officials training in Switzerland.

"Mentality-wise, it gets me prepared for the hockey season whether it's new rules or just talking about the upcoming season and what they expect from us," said Iverson, 28. "Laz worked with the linesmen and Teddy (Adams) worked with the refs. We're trying to be a more consistent group."

Iverson enjoys being at camp to share his experience with those just starting out.

"I actually presented (the idea) to Laz this year; that's kind of why I wanted to come back to the BCHL," said the Richmond, B.C. native. "When I was younger, it helped me looking up to the older guys and that's all I'm trying to do, benefit these younger guys from my personal experience.

Iverson named officials Steve Papp, Pat Smith and Trevor Hansen as being influential on his own development. Now in a mentoring position himself, he likes being a part of a close-knit fraternity the officials enjoy.

"The camaraderie is huge; it's just the four of us on the ice and sometimes you gotta go to war with those guys."

This season, Iverson sees himself working more WHL and AHL games but he's hoping to work some BCHL games in a four-man system with younger officials in order to help them improve. He says experience in the BCHL forces officials to be better because of the pace it's played at.

"(Because of) how much faster the game is in the BCHL, it prepares you," he said. "You want to progress and and the BCHL was a great developmental league for me."

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