Two Alberta officials selected for Hockey Canada summer events

Two Albertan officials will find themselves in the middle of important Hockey Canada events this summer.

Jacob Hicks (Red Deer) and Jesse Wood-Schatz (Sylvan Lake) will both have important roles over the next month and a half, as Hicks as been selected to attend the Hockey Canada Officiating Program of Excellence National Men’s Summer Camp from July 20-23 in Oakville, Ontario, while Wood-Schatz has been selected to referee the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup from August 5-10 in Edmonton.

Both officials come into their respective events with a lot of experience.

Jacob Hicks

Hicks embarked on his officiating journey at age of thirteen, transitioning from playing hockey to pursuing school sports. Inspired by a passion for the game, he seized opportunities early on, joining the AJHL as a linesperson at eighteen while competing with the RDP Kings Men’s Volleyball program.

His dedication and athleticism shone through at events such as the Hockey Alberta Officials Summer Development Camp, Western Hockey League Exposure Camps in 2022 and 2023, and the NHL Officiating Exposure Combine. Hicks attributes his fitness excellence to years of CrossFit training at Pure Fitness.

After retiring from ACAC volleyball, Hicks committed to his officiating career while pursuing a Bachelor of Education Degree, eventually earning a coveted spot on the WHL officiating staff, earning 16 games and a playoff assignment in his rookie season. Hicks also achieved notable milestones such as officiating the AJHL League Semifinals and the WHL Cup Final.

Hicks acknowledges the invaluable mentorship of veteran officials in his hometown of Red Deer and credits the comprehensive development programs provided by Hockey Alberta, the WHL, and AJHL for his continued success.

As he prepares for his inaugural assignment from Hockey Canada’s Officiating Program of Excellence, Hicks is eager to represent Alberta, recognizing it as a powerhouse for officiating development in Canada.

The OPOE is the pathway through which Canadian officials are selected for top national and international assignments. Officials enter the OPOE through regional identification camps, based on nominations from their Member programs. 

Jesse Wood-Schatz

Wood-Schatz’s journey into officiating began in 2019 in Sylvan Lake, Alberta after he took a hiatus from playing due to injuries sustained while competing at AAA, AJHL, and briefly in the WHL at the age of 16. He started officiating minor hockey from U7 to U18, balancing a passion hockey and his work looking after the family farm. Progressing quickly, Wood-Schatz was selected to attend the Hockey Alberta Officiating Summer Development in July of 2022

During the 2022/23 season, Wood-Schatz began officiating in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, his abilities quickly earned him a spot at the WHL and NHL exposure combines in 2023.

Impressing at the WHL combine, Wood-Schatz secured a position on the WHL officiating team for the 2023/24 season, officiating over 30 games. In September of 2023, he was selected to attend the Hockey Canada’s Officiating Program of Excellence (OPOE) camp in Calgary.

His dedication and growth were further acknowledged with his assignment to officiate at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August. Wood-Schatz remains committed to advancing the sport in Alberta and mentoring future officials, all the while expressing his deep appreciation for the profound impact hockey has had on his life.”

The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is an annual invitation-only event held each August that is the only best-on-best competition at the U18 level. The tournament serves as the first opportunity for fans and scouts to see NHL Draft prospects in their draft year, 10 months before the draft takes place.

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