Sports

Calling his own shots 0

Jennifer Pawluk
Dustin Deck drops the puck during a round-robin matchup between Switzerland and Russia Nov. 9 during the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, B.C.

Dustin Deck drops the puck during a round-robin matchup between Switzerland and Russia Nov. 9 during the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, B.C.

With about 10 years of experience refereeing hockey, Dustin Deck is one of a dozen or so Western Canadian officials lacing up at the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, B.C. from Nov. 8-14.

Deck, who hails from St. Andrews and grew up playing hockey in Selkirk, began officiating for the Lord Selkirk Minor Hockey Association in 1999. Today, he boasts an impressive on-ice resumé and was recently hired as a linesman by the American Hockey League.

A mechanical engineer, Deck considers refereeing a hobby.

"You just go out and have fun," he says.

But that hobby requires hours of preparation, training, travel and game-time each week.

"It's not just show up at the rink five minutes before, slap on your gear and head out on the ice," he stressed. "You have to stay in pretty good shape to keep up with these guys."

Deck also officiates as a linesman for the Western Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Canadian Interuniversity Sport. As a referee, he calls the shots in Keystone Junior Hockey League action as well as Manitoba Midget AAA games.

Officiating three or four games per week, and arriving about an hour before each game, Deck also spends about an hour every day training, reading rulebooks and checking stats. He completes weekly quizzes and must write a national certification exam annually.

A Level 4 official, Deck's career highlights include the 2010 RBC Cup gold medal game played in Dauphin last spring, a pre-Olympic matchup between Switzerland and Belarus at the MTS Centre in January, and the 2009 Telus Cup championship as well as the 2008 Keystone Cup championship, both hosted in Selkirk.

Deck said he's excited to officiate at an international level in Penticton this week.

He's looking at the World Junior A Challenge as an opportunity to "showcase what I can do on the ice," he added.

As for future plans, Deck said the NHL could be his next benchmark.

"Most refs - and players - out there have that in the back of their mind as an attainable goal," he admitted. "Everybody wants to be there when the Stanley Cup gets handed out."


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