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Harvey Mazerolle is about as close as one might come to a walking rulebook.
“Nobody, nobody knows the rules better than Harvey,” said his longtime friend and fellow basketball referee, Peter Bolo. “He knows the rulebook inside out.”
Bolo, on behalf of his fellow West Prince basketball referees, Jason Labobe, Jack McCabe, Della Sweet and Trevor Coffin, had just presented a plaque to Mazerolle in recognition of his 40-plus years as an official in the sport. He retired following the 2019 season.
“I enjoyed it; I really did enjoy it.”
- Harvey Mazerolle
Mazerolle started refereeing basketball games in 1975 as part of a western P.E.I. officials’ group that also consisted of Stan Porter, Dave Crocker and Bill Costain. It was during the second year of his teaching career. A few years later he and Jim Harris completed a coaching marathon.
“When he told me the story about six games in a day I almost died,” Bolo commented.
“I almost died,” responded Mazerolle, who was standing close by. He and Jim Harris had officiated three high school boys’ games at Kensington and three at Kinkora, in that memorable one-day production.
“To do two is tough; to do three is really tough and anything more than that is. . .,” said Bolo, leaving it up to the listener to reflect on the magnitude of the feat.
Only game in town
There was also a period of about 10 years when Mazerolle and Bolo were the only officials in the sport for the western region, so they were on the go almost every night of the week during the basketball season.
The newer roster of officials has enabled Mazerolle to ease his way out.
“They’re in good hands right now,” he added.
Mazerolle took a few years off from refereeing when his children were young and then regained his pace. When he finally laid down his basketball whistle, he had logged more than 40 years in the sport.
The retired teacher still maintains a busy schedule in sports as coach of the M.E. Callaghan boys’ volleyball team and as a statistician with the Island Storm professional basketball team based in Charlottetown. He has also officiated in baseball and soccer.
The whole experience has been positive. “I’ve met millions of people, and people I call good friends now.”
Bolo said Mazerolle trains minor officials in West Prince and was his mentor when he started as a basketball referee. He also helps referees study for annual exams and leads the way by acing the tests.
To be a referee in basketball, Bolo said, “It is one of the few jobs where you need to be perfect when you start and get better from there.”
He described Mazerolle as a professional.
“I enjoyed it; I really did enjoy it,” Mazerolle said of his basketball experience.
Since retiring from basketball officiating, Mazerolle attended his first high school game just before Christmas. “Some parts of me were saying, ‘I wish I were out there again.’”