Red Deer’s Chad Huseby will have the best seat in the house at the 100th edition of the Memorial Cup in Regina, Sask. this week.
Huseby, 32, got the call inviting him to be one of the officials in the national tournament, which gets underway on Friday, on the weekend.
He’s one of nine referees across the CHL who earned the trip, including three linesmen from the WHL.
“Definitely rewarding to get an assignment like that,” said Huseby, who is a branch manager at Servus Credit Union in Red Deer.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and time spent at the arena doing games all over Alberta and in the Western Hockey League. It’s a huge honour to represent the Western League on the national stage.”
The seven-year WHL linesman veteran, who has been on the ice for the last three WHL Championship Finals, said taking the next step onto junior hockey’s biggest stage is always at the back of your mind.
Huseby said it’s definitely a goal that all of us have – to work the final and be considered among the top officials in the league.
While it will be Huseby’s first time as an official at the Memorial Cup, he got a first-hand look at the even from the stands in 2016 when it was in Red Deer.
He said the biggest thing he noticed was the atmosphere and how quickly the emotions run high during play in such a high-level tournament. He expects it will be similar in Regina with the games being televised and the national attention the event will garner.
“With it being the 100th Memorial Cup it will be extra special out in Saskatchewan, with two Saskatchewan teams playing in the tournament,” said Huseby. “Really looking forward to the atmosphere around the rink and being part of a great tournament.”
He said working the lines in the WHL Championship this year was great preparation for the Memorial Cup. Huseby was on the ice for Game 3 and four in Everett between the Silvertips and Swift Current Broncos.
Between the raucous atmosphere and the intensity of playoff hockey, that series was a great test for all the officials, he said.
“I think it’s only natural that it sharpens us. We know that every call at that stage is going to be scrutinized. Every call is looked at,” he said.
“We have a supervisor in the rink at every playoff game, so every call matters– we don’t want any of our calls to be a defining moment in any series. It definitely sharpens our focus.”
The Broncos won the series over Everett in Game 6 on home ice. Huseby said he’ll be able to bring some local knowledge to his crew in Regina. He’s also officiated some games of the host Regina Pats this season.
“We’ll get video clips before the game about what some players do and some tendencies that they players have,” Huseby said.
“Video combined with the intel that each guy brings to the table, we definitely have a game plan. Most nights we like to have a plan of how we would like things to go. Doesn’t always go to plan.”
The four teams competing in the round-robin tournament are the Regina Pats, Swift Current Broncos, Hamilton Bulldogs and Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The final is set for May 27.
Huseby said there will be some extra motivation to be at the top of his game when the tournament kicks off on Friday in Regina between the host Pats and the Hamilton Bulldogs of the OHL.
“We have the best seats in the house,” he said.
“Any time that there’s some added rivalry and there’s extra intensity on the ice, we definitely feel it.”