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Official finds time to hone craft
She’s a single mom, a hockey mom, and a university student, but Cindy Lovejoy still found the time to officiate more minor hockey games than any official in the South Winnipeg Hockey Association this season.
Lovejoy, 27, worked as a referee or linesman in more than 80 games—at least 30 or 40 more than any other official in the area, according to Paul Comte, the SWHA’s officials development director.
And Lovejoy did all this in just her second year as an official. Her efforts earned her the SWHA’s Most Deserving Official Award at its annual awards night on April 4.
"I played hockey for 20 years, and I reffed inline hockey when I was a kid for four or five years," said the Waverley Heights resident who is hoping to get into the University of Manitoba’s faculty of social work. "I moved up north for about 10 years, and when I got back two years ago I thought it would be fun to get into reffing."
Lovejoy jumped in with both skates, becoming a self-professed "reffing nerd."
"I absolutely love it," she said. "I read my rulebook at least once a week, I’ve done every test you can do online… I study my rulebook more than my university textbooks."
Lovejoy’s favourite two things are to watch her eight-year-old daughter, Kailey, play hockey, and to preside over a game herself.
Sometimes, at Kailey’s games, she’ll stick around the rink to evaluate referees for Comte.
She’s also already taken on a role as a coach for some of the association’s younger officials.
"She’s found joy in refereeing," Comte said, adding that he received positive feedback from coaches about Lovejoy’s performance on a weekly basis. "She’s been a good mentor to some of the younger ones."
Lovejoy’s approach on the ice is to be friendly and approachable with players and coaches, something she feels earns her respect in return.
"I don’t want to be one of those refs who just calls the game and is mean," she said. "I want the kids to realize we’re people. I chat with the kids, joke around with them, and if the coach has a question I go over and talk to him."
Unlike some female officials, Lovejoy says she prefers to work boys’ games, calling it a completely different game.
"I don’t want to be a female official," she said. "I just want to ref. I enjoy the body checking, and the faster pace. I find the atmosphere in the arena is different, too."
While the becoming the first female official in the NHL might be a stretch, she does aspire to reach the highest levels of female hockey and high-level junior games.
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(1 of 13 articles for this week)03/7/2014 8:27 AM 0
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