Paul Coad (right), along with past NCZRC chair Raymond McCarthy (centre), referee Darren Kuz (left) at a Tommy Gun’s Winter Classic event. Coad is stepping down after 15 years as an assignor for minor hockey. (Photo courtesy of NCZRC)

Paul Coad (right), along with past NCZRC chair Raymond McCarthy (centre), referee Darren Kuz (left) at a Tommy Gun’s Winter Classic event. Coad is stepping down after 15 years as an assignor for minor hockey. (Photo courtesy of NCZRC)

Paul Coad inspires a generation of central Alberta referees

It’s safe to say Paul Coad has inspired the next generation of referees in central Alberta.

Coad, a long-time hockey official in the region has spent the past 15 years assigning referees to games for the Red Deer Minor Hockey Commission. Coad was responsible for assigning officials to games between the U11A age group all the way up to U18AA, which typically covered between 35 to 40 teams.

He’s decided to step away from that role and those who know him say, without him, their path as a ref wouldn’t have developed in the same way.

“Paul has been a fixture in the hockey officiating family in central Alberta for as long as I can remember. Paul has spent countless hours over the years helping younger officials and providing mentorship and support in what is a very tough gig, especially for younger officials,” said Red Deer’s Chad Huseby, who works as a Western Hockey League linesman and is part of the North Central Zone Referee Committee.

“It is never uncommon to hear from a younger official about how much Paul has helped them during the year and the program in central Alberta owes a ton of gratitude to Paul for his dedication over the years.

“Aside from this, Paul is one of the nicest human beings that you could ever meet, he has a kind heart and always greets you with a smile anytime you see him.”

Ty Elliott, Minor Hockey Assignor with North Central Zone Referee Committee and a referee himself, said Coad showed him how fun the job can be.

“Paul is one of the most fun-loving guys that I’ve had the pleasure of officiating with. He is always there to teach you the correct way to do things, but he is also there to show you, how much fun officiating can be and how awesome the referee community truly is,” Elliott said.

As attracting referees to take on a thankless job has become more difficult in recent years, those in the Red Deer referee community say it was Coad who helped in all aspects keep those who came out involved in the game.

“Aside from the thousands of hours he’s spent assigning, he’s been an active official himself, a clinic instructor, a supervisor of officials and a mentor to countless young officials in our city, as a parent of an official Paul is the type of mentor you can be thankful your son or daughter has to support them,” said Colin Stefanyk, an Alberta Junior Hockey League official from Red Deer, who also works with the NCZRC.

“His countless hours of volunteer work has made a lasting impact on the hockey officiating community in this city as well as the province and will continue to do so for years to come.”

For those looking to get involved in officiating, check out www.officials.hockeyalberta.ca or contact Cody Huseby at officialsnorthcentralregion@hockeyalberta.ca.