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Schutz Takes Reffing to New Level

by Janine Hayward

Levi Schutz of Martensville has recently passed his level 5 for hockey officiating, taking his reffing to a new level. This has opened doors for him to officiate at the WHL level. This fall he has been called up to linesman Western Hockey League teams such as Swift Current, Saskatoon Blades, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert but he is eligible to work games in Western Canada and the USA. This has been a long journey for Schutz as he started with his first clinic in 2007. He’s been officiating for the past 9 years since he’s been 12 years old. His first games were in Martensville at the Initiation level.

Levi SchutzHe started officiating the SJHL when he was 16 years old, which was one of the youngest at this time. Getting to level 5 involves many hours of evaluation, testing and getting officiating hours in. It also involves much travelling as he has spent many nights on the road with one of his furthest destinations being Flin Flon on a week night. Last year a typical week would involve 4 or 5 games to places anywhere from Laronge, Flin Flon all the way to Estevan and in between. He has had the opportunity to cover SJHL, CIS games and is called upon to do the Sask First games as well.

Schutz is trying to juggle his hockey officiating with his schooling. He is presently enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan in Anatomy and Cell Biology and is pursuing his ambition of going into medical school. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work as the officiating course also involves much studying. The level 5 Officials are selected by the SHA executive from the level 4’s. It’s designed to prepare officials for refereeing WHL, AHL, and later NHL. To get to this level 5 you must have above 90 on rule knowledge, pass fitness and skating testing, and pass an on-ice evaluation.

Schutz is looking to build off of last year. He worked the finals at the AAA level, PJHL, SJHL, and CIS. He plans on maintaining the same this year as well as adding the WHL to his resume. “Reffing this level is eye opening, in the CIS you are dealing with men not boys at a very professional level”, commented Schutz. He’s excited to have the opportunity to work the WHL games as it’s the highest level we have around here.

“It’s nice to say I’ve made it this far, dealing with some of the up and coming NHL players”, continued Schutz. He comments on how all of the officials get along so well as they spend many hours together. He compares his fellow officials to being part of a “brotherhood”. He hopes to pick up some national tournaments with hockey Canada or some IHF assignments in the near future.

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