Behind the Game: The ups and downs of professional refereeing

Fraser Lawrence had to give up hockey in the year 2000 because of injury, but he couldn’t walk away from the game, so in the fall of 2001 he started his career as a referee.

“Mainly because my older brother had been reffing,” said Lawrence. “I just started reffing in the northwest of Edmonton and worked my way up.”

Lawrence just wrapped up his ninth season in the WHL. He said he doesn’t have his sights set on the NHL, but he’s hoping to do more international events like the World Junior Hockey championships.

“I just love the sport, and being involved in the game,” he said. “The competitive nature of everything and just wanting to get better.

“Every game, I strive to do something better than I have previously.”

This year’s tournament in the Czech Republic, he got the call for his first taste of officiating at the very popular event.

“It was for sure the most nervous I’ve ever been in games before,” said Lawrence. “There’s so much at stake and there’s so many people watching and you just don’t want to make a mistake.

“But as soon as the game starts you’re good.”

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