Becoming a referee is a rite of passage for many North Vancouver Minor hockey players.
For some, it serves as a first job. For others, it’s a way to gain a fresh look at the game of hockey and even give back to your community.
But when the latest group of NVMHA players completed their referee training in October, it led to a special moment for the Cameron family.
David Cameron is the father of two NVMHA players, Evan and Eli. He began playing hockey on the North Shore when he was just five-years-old and continued playing until his final year in U18, before going to university. Like many others, he started refereeing when he was 13-years-old and continued officiating until he was 18-years-old.
It wasn’t until last year that he decided to return as a referee for NVMHA, when they began looking for older officials with prior experience.
“I’ve been refereeing on and off for 37 years,” he laughs. “With 20-something odd years off.”
David Cameron has also been a coach at NVMHA for six years, coaching both his boys, Evan and Eli. He began coaching during Evan’s first year in H4 alongside Charlie Tutt, someone that he used to play and referee alongside when he was younger.”
A first game they’ll never forget
On Saturday, November 5, two generations of the Cameron family joined together and refereed a U11 game for North Vancouver Minor.
David Cameron was joined by 15-year-old Evan Cameron and 13-year-old Eli Cameron, who were both making their referee debuts. Evan plays on a U18C team for NVMHA, while Eli is a goalie playing in the U15 Storm rep program.
“I feel like it’s a very good first job and a good way to practice confidence for when you’re older,” Evan tells NVMHA in an interview.
Eli added that on top of being his first job also, it was an opportunity “to see what [hockey] is like from a different perspective on the ice.”
The two boys completed their referee training under Dylan Williams, a longtime referee and league manager for the North Shore Inline Hockey League.
A proud family moment
For David Cameron, it was a proud moment to see the two boys following in his hockey footsteps. He also added that he was excited to pick up some of the life skills that came with being a referee.
“One of the things that they pointed out as a life skill is to gain confidence,” he explained. “And to realize that you and only you are in control of what goes on on the ice. That gives you a real step up but it also gives you the ability to deal with coaches and other parents.”
For Evan and Eli, being surrounded by family played a big part in easing them in to their refereeing career.
“I would be nervous, but it would be a lot more nerve-wracking if I didn’t have my brother and dad beside me,” Eli said.
Evan added that starting with a younger age group was also a great way to ease into things.
When giving his final comments on refereeing and the kind of experience it provides, David Cameron said this: “It really helped me gain confidence. It’s a good life skill for anyone to attain if they can, not even just in hockey but officiating in any sort of sport as a young individual.”