For the Huseby twins, heading to the Centrium together is more than just another night at the office.
Six years ago, Chad and Cody Huseby, 31, made history as the first twins to work the lines together in the Western Hockey League. To this day, they still mark the special occasion when they’re paired together.
“Those are definitely the days when we get the games assigned that we are both circling on the calendar and when we get to work the games in and around Red Deer it’s the same thing. It’s just a different feeling waking up in the morning knowing you’re working with (your) best buddy,” said Cody.
At home in Red Deer, with their parents perched a few rows above the blueline, the feeling is still surreal.
“My mom and dad are season ticket holders,” said Cody, before explaining on the rare occasion his parents suggest their sons may have missed a call.
“Every once in a while, if it’s bad enough miss they’ll say something. Dad has a pretty good view of the blueline, so every now and again he likes to throw in a jab (that) we might have missed one. But we’re pretty quick to tell him that we didn’t. He’s got a good eye up there.”
Perhaps the pair inherited the razor-sharp vision needed to become a WHL official from their dad, but it was their uncle who first introduced them to the possibility of becoming referees while growing up in Rocky Mountain House.
Watching their uncle, a level five official in Grande Prairie, was how the pair got started.
The duo continued playing hockey and finished with their midget seasons, before going to Red Deer College. From there they got involved with the Hockey Alberta Development program for officiating.
Before they knew it the twins were skating among WHL linesmen looking to earn a spot on the roster after a few years officiating higher level minor hockey, junior and senior hockey.
“When you’re at that camp, you’re dealing with our bosses,” Cody recalled.
“We do a couple on-ice games, some off-ice stuff, some classroom stuff. They come up with a plan, tell you where they see you, if it means a couple more years working junior or senior. Usually a progression plan. Depending on that, they call you back to main camp at the start of the year and you work a couple exhibition games. If they like what they see then they hire you on full-time.”
Both hold jobs outside of hockey as Cody is a Grade 3 teacher at Father Henri Voisin School and Chad is the Branch Manager at Servus Credit Union.
Staying involved in the game has been an easy decision for the brothers. The fraternity of officials has played a major role in keeping the two coming back to the rink after all these years.
Beyond the connection to the game, the continued challenge of keeping up with the players and maintaining a high-level of consistency every night is a big draw.
“With the Western Hockey League, it’s extremely challenging every night,” Chad said.
“The way the league is run is very professional. You have to bring your A game every single night. The biggest lesson for me is being consistent night in and night out. You can’t take any nights off. You can’t take any minutes off because the level is that high and the expectations are that high.”
Both brothers are satisfied with being linesmen until they finish officiating, a question they get all too often. They said the biggest teaching point over the years they learned is how to communicate on the ice with everyone involved in the game. While the Husebys had a chance to learn from some top-level referee’s over their lifetime, the advice they have for young children hoping to get involved is simple.
“(Try) to do the best job you can every time you step on the ice,” Chad said.
“Sometimes that seems daunting for a 12 or 13-year-old kid, but I never in my wildest dreams grew up as a kid in Rocky Mountain House thinking I’d be working in the western league, working the league final. Just keep with it. If you’re doing your best, putting the effort in and working hard people will notice. There’s tons of opportunity.”