February 25, 2016 by ref4rett
Kevin’s passion for hockey is long-standing and dates back to his childhood when he began playing hockey at the age of 5. He was a goalie and played in the Strathroy Minor Hockey Association until he was signed by the North Middlesex Stars (OHA Jr D) as a 16 year old and completed his OHA career with the Belmont Bombers (OHA Jr D).
At the age of 15, he decided to try his hand at Officiating and joined the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in Strathroy, where he continued to Officiate until 2006. The more games he Officiated the more he loved the role and he continued to push himself to achieve bigger and better opportunities. While attending the University of Windsor he expanded his Officiating career to additional leagues including the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association and the Ontario University Athletics. Upon completing University, he returned to Strathroy and was hired by the Ontario Hockey Association as a linesman at the start of the 2002-2003 season in the Sarnia area. On December 19, 2004, Kevin refereed his first Jr B game in Strathroy when a snow storm left the scheduled Referee unable to make it to the game, and in 2006 he moved to the Brantford area where he continued to referee.
In 2005, just newly married, he was offered a position to officiate in the East Coast Hockey League, which he turned down in order to pursue his Masters of Business Administration and to begin a family.
Kevin has continued to excel as an official and has often been selected to officiate various OHMA championship Series and also a couple of Ontario Hockey Federation Championships. He is currently one of over 200 Level 5 (of 6 levels) Officials with Hockey Canada and has officiated in multiple Cherrey Cup Finals (OHA Midwestern Jr B Championship) and regularly officiates in the Schmalz Cup (OHA Jr C Championship).
On Friday June 6, 2014, Kevin was awarded the Jack Clancy Award. This award was created in 1980, in the memory of OHA Referee, Supervisor and Director, Jack Clancy, and is awarded annually to the OHA official who demonstrates a dedicated and responsible attitude towards his duties and the Association, during a playing season.
In October 2012, Kevin’s oldest daughter, Elle, was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare neuro-developmental disorder. In order to help him manage the feeling associated with such a devastating diagnosis, as well as away to try to “do something”, Kevin used his passion for hockey, specifically for Officiating and his love for Elle and created; Ref4Rett. Ref4Rett initially began as a commitment from Kevin to donate $20.00 from each game he Officiates to the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association, but it quickly became something so much bigger and is now a full fledged fundraising initiative in support of the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association (ORSA), in hopes of raising awareness and funds to find a cure for his daughter Elle and other individuals living with Rett Syndrome.
Through Kevin’s dedication along with the outstanding support of the Midwestern Junior C Leagues, the fans and so many caring people with whom he has had the fortune of connecting with, to date, Ref4Rett has raised over $160,000, all of which has been dedicated to research for Rett Syndrome.
On reflecting back on his career, Kevin would say that he is very proud of his accomplishments on the ice. In leaving the arena each night, his goal was that neither the players nor the spectators remembered who the referee was. It was never his ‘show’ and he never wanted the attention on the ice; his job was to call a fair game. Over the years, Kevin officiated a lot of hockey. He was able to develop friendships with many other officials that went well beyond the game, and was also able to earn the respect of most players, coaches, management and spectators along the way.
It is for this reason, that as Kevin prepares to hang up his Officiating skates in order to spend more time focused on his family, Ref4Rett and as the President-Elect of ORSA, that we feel that it is so important to honour him and support him as he skates his last game on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 in Strathroy when the Strathroy Rockets take on the Chatham Maroons in their last regular season game.