SUMMERSIDE – Tanner Doiron and Ryan Reid’s journey to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) is not that much different from players.
The only difference is Doiron and Reid will be part of the third team on the ice. The two Hockey P.E.I. officials were recently selected to work QMJHL games as linesmen for the upcoming 2018-19 season.
“It’s pretty much the same (process of getting selected as players),” said the 28-year-old Reid, who lives in West Royalty. “I don’t know if I want to say it’s harder, but there are a lot less spots (for officials) than there is for players.
“Obviously, there are a number of teams in the league, and there are only so many spots for officials. It feels pretty good to be one of the (officials) in Atlantic Canada to get picked.”
Doiron, who turns 19 at the end of July, began officiating at age 12 while still playing.
“The reason I left (playing) hockey was I knew I wasn’t going anywhere as a player,” said the son of Garth and Lisa Doiron of Summerside, who is the current president of the Summerside Area Baseball Association. “I made so many memories, and met so many people through experiences with hockey along the way that I did not want to let it go. . .
“I just grew a passion for (officiating), continued to meet people and have opportunities to travel. From there, I started doing higher levels, and enjoyed being on the ice with those kind of players.
“This has definitely been a goal of mine for a while. I’m thrilled and beyond excited to be given the opportunity. I never thought it would come this early, if at all.”
There were two reasons Reid took up officiating.
“I wanted to make a little bit of money and started to enjoy it,” he said. “I stopped playing hockey my second year of bantam.
“My next door neighbour, Chris Oatway, used to be a linesman in the Quebec league, and he was the one who encouraged me to get into reffing.”
A graduate of Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, Doiron explained how discovering officials is similar to teams finding players.
“The director of officiating for the Q, (former NHL referee) Richard Trottier, has scouts in every area,” continued Doiron, who will enter his second year studying business at UPEI in September. “They first would have seen me at the Atlantic Challenge Cup (ACC) in Moncton a few years ago, and from there they make a list of their prospects in the area.
“I went to a few different things, ACC again and he ended up coming to watch me during a junior A (Western Capitals) game (in Summerside during the 2017-18 campaign).”
Reid worked two major events last season – the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Truro, N.S., and the University Cup Canadian men’s hockey championship in Fredericton, N.B. – and was named the 2017-18 recipient of the Aaron Coffin Memorial Award as Hockey P.E.I.’s official of the year.
“The World Junior A Challenge was good for me,” said Reid, who is employed as manufacturing supervisor at BioVectra Inc. in Charlottetown. “There were other officials from Atlantic Canada there. There were two linesmen from the Quebec league, Matt Hicks and Logan Bunn, and Josh McCormack, who is a referee in the Quebec league. Those guys, just in that tournament alone, taught me a few pointers.
“Since it was an international tournament it was hybrid icing, their faceoffs are identical to the Quebec league, so going into this season I will be more comfortable with those key points because I have done it.
“With the University Cup, there were only three of us who were not working major junior hockey, and being on the ice with those top officials and watching games you learn so much. The supervisors were great. (Supervisor and former referee) Tim Skinner said some things I have never heard before, and really helped my game.”
Both Reid and Doiron are excited about starting the next chapter of their officiating careers.
“I want to gain more experience, and learn some new things,” said Reid. “Really, the first year I want to get comfortable with the league and hopefully down the road work playoffs. Obviously, I know that’s not going to come my first year.”
Doiron has a goal to work hard every game and work as many games as possible.
“My goal is to prove I can be in that league and gain some respect,” said Doiron. “Basically, I am becoming a rookie again!”