LETHBRIDGE – For Brent, Ryan, and Levi Woods, a life in the game of hockey has come in the form of officiating.
Growing up in small town British Columbia, Brent Woods was recruited to become an official from a family friend around the age of 14 or 15. When he moved to Alberta for university, he debated whether to continue with officiating, and ultimately opted to stick with it as it was a good way to make some extra money and spend his spare time.
He would eventually begin a role with the South Region Officials Committee as the lead of the mentoring and supervision program, which would continue with for many years. Along with that role, Brent also took on a role as an assigner. After taking a break from the Board, he is now back on as the Vice-Chair and lead of their grassroots program, which is aimed at recruiting more officials, particularly in rural areas.
With such a prominent role on the officials committee, it was only natural that his two sons, Ryan and Levi, would step in and join their father. Ryan has now been an official for six seasons, claiming that his love for the game was the reason for getting into it. When he stopped playing hockey, it was a great way for him to still be involved.
Levi just completed his first season as an official, which he says had some bumps in the road, but he continued to progress and get more comfortable with every game that he was a part of. He says that he would lean on his Father and Brother for advice throughout the year.
The trio were able to work a few games as crew, something that they said was a fun and unique experience.
“It makes it easier when we’re out there,” said Ryan. “When I’m refereeing a game and I know that my two linesmen are my dad and my brother, it’s easier for me because I know them personally, and I know I can have good communication between them.”
As a mentor, Brent’s best advice to a young official is to just go out and try it, and if you see a penalty, call it. Whether it’s the right or wrong call, if you saw it, trust your judgement, and make the call. That advice is something that both of his sons echo as younger officials.
“This is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Brent. “It gives me comfortability and confidence when I can be out there with them, and make sure they are getting respect from the coaches, fans, and players.”