Like many people, when Ryan Fury hits the ice for a big game, he has fans cheering him on.
His daughters are always rooting for him. But instead of cheering for a hit, save or goal, they cheer when he blows his whistle.
Fury was named most dedicated official in the province by British Columbia Hockey for the 2019-20 season.
Ross Campbell, a previous winner of the award and officiating co-ordinator for the region, and Frank Gonzalez, the referee in chief for the Quesnel and District Minor Hockey Association, presented the plaque to Fury. Both praised his willingness to step up and pass on knowledge to younger officials.
Fury was surprised to receive the award.
“I didn’t know I was even nominated,” he said. “I was shocked and honoured to see it.”
Fury has been donning the striped shirt for the past decade, continuing on even as he stopped playing hockey.
“I enjoy the sport of hockey, and I enjoy helping kids out when I can,” he said. “Becoming a referee was a great idea. It was a good entry-level job to make a little extra cash in my pocket. I just took off, and the last 10 years, I’ve been doing it for fun.”
When asked what is the best skill a referee can have, Fury disagreed with Gonzalez, who said a referee needed to be a good skater.
“A big voice and communication — if you’ve got a big voice, you don’t need to skate,” Fury joked.
Fury has called some big games, including provincial gold medal games.
“Every referee has had a bad day, but the good days outnumber the bad days by a lot, so I keep coming back,” he said.
At a Junior B gold medal game, his parents made the trip out to watch their son referee.
“They’re probably the only ones cheering for the referee,” Fury said.
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