USA Hockey Magazine

January 2018

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eing an NHL refer- ee can sometimes seem like a thankless job, with far more critics than supporters, but one youngster is now a fan of the men in stripes thanks to the generosity of one American official. When Benjamin Bryant, a third grader at Estes Park Elementary School in Colorado decided to do a research project on what it takes to become an NHL official, his teacher, Erinn Wharton, reached out to USA Hockey. In turn, Matt Leaf contacted NHL referee Tom Chmielewski to see if he would help. "I am sure Ben would be pretty impressed to get the info straight from an NHL referee," wrote the director of USA Hockey's Officiating Education Program. Chmielewski took it a step farther, not only writing a note but also sending him a special care package featuring game pucks, an NHL rule book and other officiating paraphernalia. "Ben, thank you for your interest in the life of an NHL referee," Chmielewski wrote. "Hope I was able to give you some useful information. Best of luck in your future. Always work hard and have fun." Chmielewski's generosity made a big impact on the aspiring official, who is work- ing on mastering the hand signals for penalty calls and is volunteering as an official for first grade soccer and basket- ball games. "The sooner we expose our children to career and college ideas and opportunities, the sooner they think that they can achieve their dreams," wrote Benjamin's father, John, who is also the principal at the Estes Park Elementary. "When we have a response like yours to encourage our kids to pursue this it com- pletes our efforts." NHL Ref Makes Right Call With Young Fan OFFICIALS Tom Chmielewski, NHL referee INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL BOOK & DVD Now Available BOOK & DVD Now Available JANUARY 2018 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM // 9 Benjamin Bryant E-mail : JOG Athletics B

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