The Elmira and District Hockey Referees Association (EDHRA) recently held its annual general meeting to hand out its end of season awards and appoint a new president.
There were four awards presented to officials: The most improved official award was presented to Ryan Elliott, and the most promising official award went to Keenan Martin. The most dedicated official award went to Matt Hoggarth (who refereed 172 games) while the Richard Rank most deserving official award was given to Kurt Wilke. Wilke was also appointed EDHRA’s new president to replace outgoing president Alex Martin.
“It definitely wasn’t a normal season, just sort of month to month. We weren’t sure what was going to happen, … if there’s going to be hockey. Everyone was sort of watching what the numbers were like and everything, and obviously then we got shut down for the whole month of January. So it definitely wasn’t an easy season,” Wilke noted of the lingering impacts of the pandemic.
“That being said, we have a lot of dedicated officials in our association. They’re very involved with our association and they’re quick to react to situations that we have. To make something on the fly or if something changes within the hour. We have a lot of dedicated people that are right in there to jump in and make sure we don’t miss the game.”
Wilke highlighted the importance of the most dedicated award, the recipient of which has usually officiated some 200 games in a normal season.
“It is a lot of games. Matt probably would have done more if we weren’t shut down in January. He probably would have been, I would say, very close to 200 if not over 200. And that to me is dedication right there. Referees do get paid, but no one makes a living doing this – everyone has a day job. To skate that many games, Matt doing that, is a lot of games,” he said.
Wilke thanked Martin for the work he did during his three-year term which due to the pandemic lasted a year longer than the president’s term normally does.
“Alex did a great job with everything that’s gone on in the last few years. It’s not easy to run an association where we’re heavily involved, we do meet a lot. We’re a social thing. It’s hard to be social when we’re not supposed to be social,” he noted.
Wilke said it was an honour to be named president.
“We have a great group of officials and I just want to keep it going. There are a few things I want to do this year, especially during tournaments [because] that’s when we have a lot of people that take time off work and come to tournament games,” he explained. “Other than that, just try to do my best for the next person that takes over for me in a couple of years.”