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NARCE Notebook: Columbus Offers Ideal Setting

06/16/2014, 12:30pm MDT
By Paul Batterson - Special to USAHockey.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The North American Rink Conference and Exposition moved to Columbus this year after being held in Detroit in each of the past three years. This year’s event, which was held May 19-22, was the first of three in a row that will be held in the Ohio capital.

Nationwide Arena, where the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets play, is with walking distance of the Columbus Convention Center, where the conference was held. The proximity to the rink and a strong presence at the NARCE in the past made central Ohio a strong choice for the convention.

“We rotate the site selection around in the Midwest,” said Cory Portner, director of membership for the USA Hockey. “Columbus became a potential destination when we were looking at sites because we’ve gotten a lot of support from rink operators and employees from Ohio coming to the conference. We thought it was probably time to come into the Ohio area.”

Lucky Timing

The conference avoided a logistical headache when the Columbus Blue Jackets were eliminated by Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Had Columbus beaten the Penguins and made a long run into the playoffs, the conference would have struggled to find ice rinks to conduct its clinics.

“We’d love to see them go deep into the playoffs, but we had ice rented over at their facility,” Portner said. “If they would’ve gone deep in the playoffs, we would’ve had to look for other rinks.”

Green on Ice

One of the classes added to the conference this year was on energy management. The seminar took a look into alternative solutions such as solar power and wind power to provide the energy needed to run a rink.

“Right now we’re big consumers of electricity and natural gas,” Portner said. “We’re trying to cool the surface of the ice while heating the rest of the rink to keep it comfortable. We’re in constant conflict, burning dollar bills while trying to manage both ends.

“So we’re constantly exploring new ways of building our rinks to make them more energy efficient by using natural resources and technologies.”

Notes

According to Portner, the NARCE event pulled in participants from nearly every state that has an ice rink facility as well as participants from Japan, Canada, Europe and Australia. … The expo had companies offering four different ice resurfacers, including the traditional Zamboni as well as the Olympia, Sport Ice and the Italian-manufactured Engo.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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09/26/2016, 10:45am MDT
By Kelly Erickson

Three USA Hockey officials earn the chance to officiate in the NHL for the first time this season

For the majority of young hockey players, their dream is to skate in the National Hockey League. They want to be the next Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Ryan Suter — the list goes on. This season, starting in NHL training camps, three young Americans will make their dream a reality, with one caveat — instead of playing, they’ll be officiating.

Ryan Daisy, Furman South and Cameron Voss, three USA Hockey officials, were each recently offered NHL contracts and will attend their first NHL training camps this fall.

“It’s been a dream come true, really,” South said. “I’ve dreamt of being in the NHL my whole life. I grew up playing hockey from a young age and have been a hockey fan my whole life. Ever since I learned to skate it was always a dream of mine to be in the NHL. For most of my life I have dreamt of being there as a player, but once I was done playing, my dream was to make it as an official. And I made it. I can’t wait to have my first NHL game.”

Daisy echoed the sentiment, noting that making it to the NHL level as an official has been a goal of his for awhile.

“It feels awesome,” Daisy said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions going on in my first game, the first time I touch the ice in the NHL with the NHL crest on my sweater that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

It’s a dream made reality for all three, and the ultimate payoff for many years of hard work and sacrifice.

“It’s an accumulation of all the sacrifices my family has made for me, all the supervisors and friends along the way that have helped me,” Voss said. “It wasn’t just me, it was a collection of people that pushed me and made me believe and work hard. It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling being at this point. I’m just glad all the sacrifices that we’ve made have paid off. I’m very blessed and humbled by the whole experience.”

Voss, South and Daisy were drawn to officiating from different paths, but once on it, they both climbed through the ranks and took advantage of the USA Hockey officiating development initiatives, including summer camps and the USA Hockey Officiating Program for South and Daisy to hone their skills.

Voss was the first of the three to don the zebra stripes, becoming an official at age 12, working alongside his father. It was his way to help pay for his hockey gear and get extra ice time. After closing his collegiate career at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, pursuing a career as a ref became a reality. He attended an officiating summer camp and saw all the opportunities available to work in higher-level hockey, and before long, he was working his way through them, spending time at the youth, high school, junior, NCAA Division I and professional levels in the American League.

“My eyes lit up really wide and I was just eager to start the process,” Voss said.

“USA Hockey gave me lots of opportunities to learn and hone my craft. The people involved in USA Hockey, they sacrificed a lot of time … they helped me out tremendously, especially at the grassroots level. They let me learn and grow and even let me fail and learn from those experiences. USA Hockey helped me from when I first started when I was 12 to when I got the call (from the NHL) in July.”

South played NCAA hockey at Robert Morris University. When he graduated in 2012 at age 24, he simply wanted to find a way to stay involved in the sport about which he was so passionate. He tried coaching, he instructed at camps and then he got a chance to ref a game and he loved it. He’s officiated everywhere from high school up, spending last season in the American Hockey League.

“It kind of came naturally to me and I realized it was something I wanted to pursue,” South said. “A couple of years later, it seems to have worked out.”

Daisy was drawn to officiating because it was a way to be in the game, to skate on the ice. His dream of becoming an official firmly solidified when he joined the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program during his senior year of college. With some early success, he was offered a contract to work in the United States Hockey League full-time, fueling his aspirations.

“(USA Hockey) will do everything in their power to help you achieve your dreams, no matter what level of hockey it is,” Daisy said.

From his Level 1 seminar to summer camps to his job in the USHL, Daisy has felt extreme support from every manager and mentor along the way, noting they all wanted to help him be a better official.

“You’re learning from the best,” Daisy said. “You’re learning from guys that are either currently in the NHL, have been in the NHL, officials that have worked international hockey and college hockey. They’re out there helping you become better.”

South also credits the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program as a factor in his success, noting Scott Zelkin, the Officiating Development Program manager, and the program itself gave him every opportunity to succeed as an official. To make his dreams come true.

“I can’t say enough about USA Hockey and the Officiating Development Program,” South said. “I wouldn’t have had this chance with the NHL if it wasn’t for those guys, that’s for sure.”

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