By Nolan Kowal, Sport Performance Specialist

Sport Manitoba recognizes the crucial role that officials have within sport. Without officials, there would be no game. Keep an eye out for our #NoRefNoGame campaign this year as we share the real stories from Manitoba officials, and what its like to be behind the call.

The first official we are proud to feature is Vaughan Rody, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who now lives in Everett, Washington working as a Linesman in the NHL.

“I first started officiating when I was 14, like every other kid, just trying to make some extra cash,” said Rody.

“But officiating turned into a career as I got older, as I officiated in many different leagues. For me personally, the game of hockey is my life. It has not only provided for me, but it has provided for my family and my children. I think it has provided us with experiences that most people would not be able to have, so I am very grateful for what being able to officiate hockey has done for me.”

“Like I said, I was 14 when I started officiating, and in a lot of youth sports the officials are young kids, typically 14, 15, and 16. And the analogy that I’ve always used is the grocery store cashier.”

“Can you imagine what the reaction would be if you stood in a line and you berated and yelled at the cashier, telling him he wasn’t bagging your groceries fast enough, called him an idiot, told him to wake up, told him to hurry up, and told him he was the worst cashier you have ever seen? Could you imagine how the rest of the people waiting in line would look at you? If you were actually berating and speaking to someone like that, especially a 15-year-old, people would look at you like you had some real serious issues. But yet, somehow at a sporting event, it’s accepted. It’s something I’ve never been able to understand or wrap my head around.”