Monday, February 09, 2015

Youth Ice Hockey Officiating

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge hockey fan. It definitely rivals my love for football. It may be hard to imagine, but I have trouble deciding which I like more, the Steelers or the Penguins. It's hard to really judge though, because the seasons are so different with 16 games versus 82. Anyway, that's not really what this post is about.

Matt Hillson may not remember this, but not too long after we graduated from GW, probably about 10 years ago, I got this crazy idea that I wanted to be a hockey official. One day when I was out for a bike ride, I happened to ride past Mt. Vernon Rec Center Ice Rink. I decided to stop in and see if they had any information on ice hockey programs and refereeing. At that time, Kettler wasn't even in the picture, and the only other rink that I knew about was Ft. Dupont where GW used to play.

The information that I got led me to the USA Hockey website and I found out that August and September were when the registration and seminars for the next hockey season were held. Of course this was sometime in the spring, probably at the height of the NHL playoffs, so that was a long ways away. By the time the end of the summer rolled around, I was not thinking about hockey yet, as the Steelers were gearing up to play! So several years went by and I always missed the cut-off dates.

Eventually I got involved in some other great organizations and activities, and the USA Hockey seminars just fell off my radar. Until this past August when I was reading an article online about youth hockey and it reminded me about wanting to become a ref. So back to the USA Hockey website I went, and lo and behold, there was a seminar in September that I was able to attend. The seminars are free to take and they are promoted as a way for new officials to gauge interest.

I enjoyed the seminar, despite the fact that my skating was a little rusty, since I hadn't been on ice since probably Feb of last year. I decided to take the plunge and register for Level 1 and take the test. It's an open book, multiple choice, 50 question test, so there should be no reason that anyone fails, and I didn't. After that, it was a matter of getting some equipment, a uniform, and joining the Southeastern Hockey Officials Association. The next step was to reach out to some of the schedulers to introduce myself so that they would begin to schedule me for games.

Whistle, uniform, and crest ready!

By this point it was the beginning of November and the season was in full swing. I was able to get a 10 and under Mite game right before Thanksgiving. The Mite games are played with half the ice surface and no icing or offsides, 4 skaters to a side, and one official. I handled that game pretty well, but definitely learned a few things in the process. In December I was able to get two games, a Mite game and a 12 and under Squirt game. Fortunately, I was working the Squirt game with an experienced official. The wild card, which made me even more nervous, was that my parents and sister were in town and wanted to come watch! It wasn't a terrible start to my reffing career, but I wasn't a star either!

Watching the play from the blue line

To wrap up this longer than anticipated story, I have done about 16 games so far and I am generally getting more comfortable as time goes on. This past weekend, I had four games on my schedule. Unfortunately, it started off pretty badly on Sat night with an upper level Squirt game that I worked with another first year official. It was an ugly game and we let it get a bit too out of hand, but no one really got hurt and it was a learning experience for me. The two games on Sun morning were much better and I had a great partner to work with. Then, on Sunday afternoon I got to experience sled hockey from an officials viewpoint. It was amazing to see those youths out there on the ice giving it their all.

We'll see where this journey takes me, but so far despite some travails, it has been a fun way to spend my weekends this winter! I'll leave you with a parting shot of me looking the part, with my wonderful mustache!

Watching the play with my family behind me

Friday, January 30, 2015

Where has time gone??

I recently got an email from my domain host notifying me that my auto-renewal was soon approaching. This made me wonder how long it had been since I published a blog post on my website. The answer was not too surprising to me, I had a general idea of the amount of time, but I actually felt disappointed in myself. I was never one to publish posts everyday or even weekly, I posted things more sporadically, but for me to have just ignored my blog for so long, felt wrong.

Now this is where I am supposed to pledge to do better and post more often, etc. However, that is not what I am going to do. There have been a ton of changes in my life since my last post and there will be a ton more going forward. I am going to do my best to keep my blog updated more frequently, but I won't promise anything. I know that not too many people read my blog, and I didn't start it to gather a huge readership. It was meant to sort of chronicle my life for myself. So that is why I am going to do my best to post things here going forward.

For now, I am going to do a very brief picture update of what has happened in my life since my last post about my "first" bachelor party.

1. Bachelor Party # 2 - (Since no pictures exist of that day/night, here's one from BP #1) - 2011
Some nice girls at the Buffett show
2. Our Wedding - 2011
Perfect weekend in Cashiers, NC
3. Honeymoon in New Zealand - 2012
Lake near Mt. Cook
4. Bought a new house - 2012
New kitchen and family room
 5. Sold our townhouse - 2012
Old living room
6. Green Inaugural Ball - 2013
Celebrating the Inauguration
7. Alison and Anthony's Wedding - 2013
GW Group Photo, minus the bride
8. Roddick Mountain Challenge - 2013
With challenger Jim Courier
9. Disney world - 2013

GW Group at Disney
10. Our family - 2013
Christmas photo with the animals
11. Skiing in Colorado - 2014
Snowmass with Maroon Bells
12. Trip to Hawaii - 2014
Dinner at Mama's Fish House
13. Grant's Wedding in Hawaii - 2014
Beautiful spot for a wedding
14. Roddick Mountain Challenge - 2014
Meeting Brooklyn Decker
15. Family tennis - 2014
Family tennis at the B&T
Those are the big rocks from the last almost four years!! There are a ton more activities and adventures that I could have throw in, but I think that is a good summary. I am sure 2015 is bound to bring even more fun, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bachelor Party #1

Well, my blogging skills are severely lacking these days, but I thought I would post this at least, as I am waiting for the Pens and the Lightning to begin OT in game 4.

I have had a big change at work, and have spent 14 hours more than I normally do at work the last 8 days.  So, that means I am in need of a huge break. Well, I am getting that this weekend.  Tomorrow I leave for FL, where we will have a long weekend of debauchery for my Bachelor Party #1!

It all culminates in the Buffett concert on Sat. night.  I am very excited and can't wait!  Now let's go Pens!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Have a seat, Matt Cooke

There are a number of other things that I have been planning on blogging about, but I just can not let this issue go without comment.  I  refrained from saying anything yesterday after the terrible elbow to the head that Matt Cooke put on a Ranger in yesterday's game, shown nationally on NBC.  However, it is still bothering me this morning, especially after just reading this article.

Matt Cooke was quoted in an article yesterday morning about head shots and specifically about the committee that was set-up.  He stated:
"I think it's a great thing ... they're going to do what's best, or at least recommend what's best, not only for the game, but also the players."
Then several hours later, in a competitive, close game, he goes out and does exactly what everyone in the hockey world has been talking about all week.  In addition, he does exactly what the Penguins leadership, owners and managers, have come out and said should not be a part of the game!!

I used to be a Cooke fan because he plays the game with such intensity and is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.  He is crucial on the penalty kill, helping the Pens become the best PK in the NHL, and he has a great forecheck getting in the zone and creating mayhem.  He is not an identified goon, who has a specific role, he actually has some hockey skills, as evidenced by this goals and assists totals.

Despite saying that, it is unnecessary hits, like his flying elbow to the head, that do not belong in the game of hockey.  Did he learn nothing from the Trevor Gillies incidents?!?  As much as I think he helps the Pens and makes them a better team, if he is going to make bone-head plays like the hit yesterday, I don't want him playing for my team.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Well, I certainly have been neglecting my blog lately.  I got back into it after a little time off, got used to writing and posting again, and then it just dropped off.

I have downloaded the Android Blogger app, so I am trying that now.  We'll see if that helps anything...  I finally got some pictures uploaded, so hopefully I will get my Superbowl post up soon.  I think it has been enough time that I can now relive my trip without feeling too disappointed.

In the mean time, here are 2 pictures from our trip to VT last weekend where we got to skate and play hockey on a private pond!  Very cool!!

*Edit: The photos aren't uploading properly...  guess the bugs aren't worked out of the app...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Movember Update # 4

Well, today is the last day of Movember.  To some it is a sad day and to others it is a very happy day (Kristi!!)  For me, it is a little bit of both.  I am sad that the month has come to an end and I may have to shave my 'stache soon, but I am very happy that I have received almost $600 in donations for a wonderful cause.  Thank you to all of you who have supported The Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG!!  I was very happy to lend my upper lip to the cause as well.  The month might be over, but if you haven't given yet, they will not turn away your generosity if you Click Here!!

Now before I  show you what a month of hard work growing my 'stache looks like, I need some help.  There is a big party for all the Mo Bro's and Mo Sista's who participated in Movember.  We are supposed to come dressed in a costume that goes with our 'stache.  I have 2 options right now, and would love to hear others if you all have them.  Please vote in the comments!  

1.  Magnum P.I. / Hawaii 5-0
2.  A cowboy

So, without further ado, here is what I look like after a month, so which costume will be the best??

Magnum P.I. or a Cowboy??

Thank you again to all the fabulous people who donated to me!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movember Update # 3

This week's Movember Update is even later than last week!  It's amazing how time just slips away.  Hopefully later this week I will have an update about our trip to the 'burgh and the 2 wins that we saw by the Pens and the Steelers!!

But first, I haven't gotten as many donations this week as I would have liked, but I am just shy of $275.  We are heading in to the final week of the month, so I hope that those of you who have not donated will step up!  It is Thanksgiving time and we should all be giving thanks (and a donation) to the organizations that are working towards cures for cancer in men.  This is a good way to honor someone, by making a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong.

I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving!  I am headed to Cashiers for the long weekend with family.  We will also be doing a bunch of wedding planning.  More to come on that as well!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quiet House...

This week has been very quiet around my house!  Kristi has been in Chicago for work and all of the animals are at their respective grand parents.  Max and Chloe went back to Pittsburgh because Max had to get the staples out of his leg.  (Which the vet said was looking good!)  Not wanting the cats to be left by themselves for too long at Thanksgiving, K's parents have taken them back to NJ.  Sushi has been doing her best imitation as a secretary for K's Dad!

So all of that, means that no one has been home except for me!!  What a difference it is to have the house all to myself...  I can't remember the last time this happened.  It seems that ever since Kristi moved in, either she or the animals were there.  It is very sad to come home to an empty house.  I am used to some kind of animal waiting by the door to be petted or fed!

I am not necessarily complaining about the lack of animals, because it is a nice break from the responsibilities that having animals brings!  But thankfully my alone time will end tonight, as I am picking K up at the airport and we are driving up to Pittsburgh for a big sports weekend with the Pens and Steelers!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movember Update # 2

This update is a little late, but I was pretty busy on Sunday and then the travesty of that football game last night occurred.  Big new financially, I am just shy of the $200 mark!!  THANK YOU to all who have donated to my awesome 'stache!  Keep up the good work and spread the news to others.  Those of you who haven't donated yet, this is only the half-way mark in the month, so there is plenty of time to give to the campaign to benefit The Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong.

Don't pay any attention to my expression, this was after the Steelers loss...

As you can see, it is beginning to fill in nicely.  By the end of the month, it will hopefully be a respectable 'stache!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bike Ride and Yards Park

I was fortunate to have yesterday off of work due to the Governments honor of our veterans.  I used the day to get a few things done for wedding planning, but since it was a gorgeous November day, I also went for a bike ride.  I am going to be doing a rotation for about 6 weeks at a different location for work, so I thought I would try several routes that I could use to bike to work.  I mapped them out on the computer and it looked like there were 2 options and they both were about the same distance.  One route crossed over the Potomac to the north and the other to the south.

I figured that I could make a nice 24 ish mile loop out of them and see which I liked better.  The north route is similar to a route that I used about 4 years ago, so I thought I would start with the south one.  This took me over the Wilson Bridge towards the National Harbor and then up through Oxon Hill Farm.  This was one area from the map that I was a little worried about, but it turned out to be a pretty good trail.  When I made it to my new work site, I was pretty happy with the south route.  I wasn't convinced that it was better than the north route though, so off I went to continue the second half of my loop. 

One thing that I forgot to bring with me was my government ID, so I couldn't follow the exact route that I was going to take north.  When I made it back home, I decided that the north route was probably going to be the best way for me to ride.  They both have advantages, and I may try them both, but I think the north one wins for best commuter route.

As I rode past Nationals Park, I decided that I would take a detour and head over to the newly opened Yards Park.  This is a great website, Near Southeast, with lots of information about the park (as well as all things Southeast!!)  It was such a nice day that I walked around and enjoyed this little spot on the Anacostia.  I took a bunch of pictures of the park.  I highly recommend that you take the time to go check it out!  It is a hidden gem along a neglected river.  The one thing that will make this park even better is if the city can work with the Navy to allow access all along the river up to the 11th Street bridges.  What a great boardwalk area that would be!

Fountain at the front of the park

The bridge in the park

The view of the light tower with the Navy Yard in the background

The view of the bridge with the fountan and waterfall in the background

The boardwalk looking towards the Navy Yard