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TJ Courtney, left, was a linesman at the world under-17 hockey challenge earlier this year in Cape Breton, N.S. The Cornwall resident recently won his second straight Kenneth R. Stiles-Seaman Hotchkiss officiating scholarship from Hockey Canada. It's a $4,000 prize aimed at helping officials in the national organization's officiating program pay for post-secondary education at Canadian colleges and universities.
Although winning scholarships is old hat for T.J. Courtney, the Cornwall resident isn’t letting it go to his head.
Courtney recently won his second straight Kenneth R. Stiles-Seaman Hotchkiss officiating scholarship from Hockey Canada. It’s a $4,000 prize aimed at helping officials in the Hockey Canada officiating program pay for post-secondary education at Canadian colleges and universities.
“There are a lot of talented officials in Canada, and many of them are students as well, so it is nice to be recognized for the commitment it takes to officiate at a high level and perform at a high academic level at the same time,” said Courtney, who began calling games in the Sherwood minor hockey system when he was 12.
“It is an honour to receive this scholarship, and it will undoubtedly help me with my masters tuition and living expenses next year.”
Courtney, a level five official, recently graduated from UPEI with a business degree. He’s moving on to Dalhousie University in Halifax in the fall to pursue a degree in public administration.
He hopes to officiate in Nova Scotia and has a few contacts after working the world under-17 hockey challenge earlier this year in Cape Breton, N.S. But Courtney said he isn’t counting on anything until he can prove himself to a new set of supervisors and mentors.
If he’s made it this far, however, the sky might be a reasonable limit for a kid wise enough to know switching from player to official was a good idea.
“I was never a great hockey player to begin with, so I am confident to say that I am now officiating at a higher level than I ever would have played,” he said.
“Throughout my first few years I had no idea the opportunities that officiating would give me, but in recent years there have been a lot of memories and friendships for me,” he added.
“In the future I hope to work the highest level of hockey that I can. I can look up to the older officials in P.E.I. and hope that I have half the career that they have had. In the end the biggest goal is to keep having fun with it, because there is no room on the ice for someone who doesn’t love what they are doing.”
Courtney won Hockey P.E.I.’s official of the year in 2013. He’s also worked Maritime Hockey League junior A games and was an official at the Dallas Stars inter-squad game during the NHL team’s 2011 training camp in P.E.I.
Six Stiles scholarships, a legacy of Calgary Flames founding ownership group, were awarded this year to officials across the country. The committee grants them to nominees for academic achievement, officiating excellence and community involvement.