Kelowna referee retires after directing 10,000 hockey video games

Not that Dave ‘Mac’ McClellan was counting.

But he estimates that he has refereed around 10,000 hockey games for over 50 years.

“Well, I started refereeing in 1970-71 and it’s not difficult to say that I’ve played 200 games a year, so yeah, that’s probably 10,000 or more,” McClellan said with a laugh.

For 44 years of this half century, 1977-2021, McClellan was a referee and head umpire (1978-2004) at Kelowna Minor Hockey, overseeing regular season, playoff and tournament games at all levels.

He retired from Kelowna Minor Hockey that month but will continue to help develop new umpires for BC Hockey at the BC Hockey League and Western Hockey League levels.

</who>Dave ‘Mac’ McClellan, second from right, retired this month after serving 44 years as a Kelowna Minor hockey umpire.  He is pictured here wearing the jersey signed by all 90 officials he worked with during his final year of work.  Also featured in the photo are acting Kelowna Minor Hockey committee members Derek Lang (left), Larry Lenarduzzi, Bryce Medd, and Darcy Sigfuson.  “class =” img-responsive “src =” “style =” margin: 5px; “/></p>
<p>“Mac has been a permanent fixture with us since 1977,” said Larry Lenarduzzi, the current head judge for Kelowna Minor Hockey.</p>
<p>“His real gift was mentoring. Many great officials have seen Kelowna at international events on their way to the WHL and Hockey Canada as well. We can honestly say that we are all better officials thanks to Dave McClellan.”</p>
<p>Speaking of international hockey, the high point of McClellan’s refereeing career came in 1990 when he led the Team Canada versus Team USSR game at the Trail Arena.</p>
<p>“Well, it was the biggest rivalry in the hockey world and Canada won. I remember the rink being full and the spectators hanging from the beams of the building,” he recalled.</p>
<p><img alt=Another highlight of Dave ‘Mac’ McClellan’s refereeing career was working on the Team Canada vs. Team Finland game at the Memorial Arena in Kelowna in 1989. “class =” img-responsive “src =” https: //www.kelownanow .com / files /files/images/Canada%20vs_%20Finland.jpg “style =” margin: 5px; “/>

A humorous highlight for McClellan was the Penticton Arena, where he directed a playoff game of the Penticton-Vernon BC Hockey League.

“I imposed a penalty on Penticton and when the guy in the dressing room announced it, he said, ‘Penticton penalty for no apparent reason,'” said McClellan.

“I threw it out of the PA booth and when I later returned to Penticton there was a poster that said, No reason: Mac.”

McClellan was playing for the BC Hockey League’s Vancouver Centennials in 1970-71 when he was introduced to refereeing.

“I came to the rink two hours early from school for ice hockey practice, and one day the guys who had the ice age ahead asked me to be a referee,” recalled McClellan.

“I enjoyed it from the start and continued to referee while playing for the Vancouver Nats in the Western Hockey League from 1972-73.”

In fact, it was McClellan’s experience as a player that made him a better referee.

“I’ve always been a referee for a player,” he said.

“I named games as I’ve always liked them as a player. I had a relationship with the players and I think that earned me a unique respect. I saw what I would call a penalty and they were thrown into the box. “

Insults from players, coaches and fans have never bothered McClellan.

“Sure, something happened, but I never took it to heart,” he said.

McClellan also worked full-time while officiating all of that.

From 1981 until retirement in 2018, he was the area representative for Nabisco, Kraft and Heinz who traveled from grocery store to grocery store.

“Yeah, I’ve been busy,” he said with a laugh.

“But my wife Caulette always said it was better for me on the ice rink than for the bar. who preferred rugby and now lives in Australia) and still found time to play golf, fly fishing and mountain biking. “

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