CK Police Officer Refs at World University Games in Turkey
Michael Pearce at the World University Games in Ezurum, Turkey
From policing the streets of Chatham-Kent, to policing the ice in Erzurum, Turkey, it’s all in a day’s work for CKPS Constable Michael Pearce.
For the last two weeks, Pearce has been overseas refereeing ice hockey at the 2011 Winter Universiade, or translated to English, the World University Games. Pearce, who is the Chatham-Kent Police Services current Public Information Officer, is in his 20th year of officiating, including 13-years in the OHL, and still calls University and Junior B games for the OHA.
Turkey however, is a long way from the ice in Southwestern Ontario, “Working a tournament for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is an incredible opportunity,” said Pearce.
“The Turkish people are fantastic. The hospitality and friendliness was simply amazing. I learned a great deal about their culture, history, and even a little politics. Quite a unique place in the world. I would certainly recommend visiting to any of my friends.”
At the international tournament, Pearce officiated games involving Turkey, Japan, Czech Republic, Slovakia, USA, Russia, Belarus, Slovenia, Spain, and even worked a Canadian game when the scheduled referee was injured 5 minutes into the contest.
The tournament didn’t come without its challenges however, as Pearce had to learn and use the IIHF rulebook, which differs from Canadian rules, and he also had to deal with some outrageous behaviour on the ice, “On the ice, the most memorable part of the tournament was a quarter-final game I officiated between Russia and the Czech Republic. The game was intense and both teams demonstrated a lack of respect for one another that I had not seen in a very long time. In the end, I assessed 314 minutes in penalties including 6 match penalties. Four players received supplementary discipline and were banned from competing for the remainder of the tournament.”
According to Pearce, he wasn’t even expecting an invite to the event, but was honoured to get one, “I was quite surprised when I learned I had been invited to officiate this event. I was excited to have the opportunity to visit Turkey as I likely would not have visited there otherwise. I was also excited to represent Canada at an international event – just as I am sure the Canadian athletes were.”
To top off his experience, Pearce was selected to officiate the gold medal game between Russia and Belarus, a position typically held for the official with the most experience, and that has done the best job throughout a tournament. Pearce was unable to referee the bronze medal game, because it featured Team Canada and officials are not supposed to call games featuring their home country.
“Working the gold medal game was a great experience although I should mention that any of the referees at this tournament could have worked that game. I was simply lucky to get the opportunity. Most people don’t realize that Canadian officials can’t officiate games that Canada plays in. Canada lost to Russia in the semi-finals. If Canada had won, my opportunity to officiate the gold medal game would not have happened.”
After a few weeks in Turkey, Pearce has now traded in his whistle for a badge, returning to service as an officer with the Chatham-Kent Police Service.
“Officiating at the World University Games is an event I will always remember. Bonding with strangers that share a unique passion for officiating over a two week period, and leaving with new friendships was an incredible experience. I am humbled and honoured to have taken part in such a fantastic event.”