Brayden Arcand officiates in World Junior A Challenge

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta official Brayden Arcand was part of the officiating crew selected to work the World Junior A Challenge December 10-17 in Truro, Nova Scotia.

“It was a great experience. It was my first international experience in a while and Hockey Canada did a good job making sure that it was ran professionally,” Arcand said. “The volunteers and the town of Truro were great hosts and the support the tournament had was strong. It was a great overall experience for me.”

Not only was Arcand one of the few officials selected to referee games in the tournament, he was part of the crew that earned the right to officiate the gold medal final between Canada West and Canada East.

“I think any time an official gets asked to be part of a tournament, the end goal is to do the last game,” Arcand said. “Anytime you get selected it’s a really good feeling. It’s a feather in your cap for all the hard work you put in over the course of the tournament as well as the season. There are so many good officials to pick from, it was an honour to get selected.”

This isn’t the first high-level event in which Arcand has taken part. The 32-year-old has called games throughout several AJHL playoffs, an AJHL final and the Centennial Cup. He said the World Junior A Challenge is up there with those accomplishments.

“It’s hard for me to rank them honestly,” he said. “I think getting to officiate in a national championship such as the Centennial Cup is definitely an honour. The World Junior A Challenge has a different flair to it, it’s a little bit shorter and there is a smaller group of teams so there’s much more focus on each game…. I think it’d be hard to rank them because they’re all special in their own way and I’m happy to be part of them.”

Arcand has been an official since he was 13 and has made it part of his full-time occupation over the past 10 years.

“Right now, I’m just taking it day-by-day. You always try and set goals for yourself … and I’ve been very lucky to achieve some of those goals,” he said. “But with where I’m at with my career outside of hockey and my family, I think taking it day-by-day is the best thing for me right now.”      

Numerous sports, including hockey, look to recruit new officials each year, but there are challenges, especially when it comes to abusive behaviour from coaches, players and fans.

“My brother was one of those officials that got abused as a young official and he quit,” Arcand said. “I don’t know why we’re so hard on our young officials …. At the end of the day, we were losing such a high number of officials.”

But Arcand also has a positive message for those who are hesitant to dip their toes into the officiating world.

“For me officiating helped me in a lot of different areas. It’s helped me with my communication, professionalism, and learning to be part of a team … there’s so many aspects that you can translate over to the real world that are very important. It also helped me stay close to the game I love. A lot of officials just love hockey and being part of it in any capacity is a plus. I think officiating is a good way of doing that, being able to balance your work and social life, I’ve gotten to travel all over North American to referee a hockey game so there are a lot of benefits that come with officiating as well.  I always look back and am grateful to becoming an official because it helped me get to a lot of place I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to as a player.”

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