Call of the At­lantics

Bay Arena of­fi­cial se­lected to work At­lantic hockey chal­lenge

The Compass - - ORTHTE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER THE COM­PASS

When Mark An­stey steps on the ice for the first time at the At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup hockey tour­ney in Monc­ton, NB, he doesn’t fore­see him­self be­ing ner­vous.

The in­vite to the tour­na­ment, which runs from Oct. 5-8 at the Red Ball In­ter­net Cen­tre, is ev­i­dence that An­stey has proven him­self as a de­pend­able and ca­pa­ble of­fi­cial.

The 17-year-old Bay Roberts res­i­dent re­ceived a phone call ear­lier this month from Hockey NL ref­eree-in-chief Don Kelly. He was not ex­pect­ing to hear the words that Kelly ut­tered — he would be one of three New­found­land of­fi­cials to at­tend the Chal­lenge Cup. An­stey will work as a lines­man.

“I didn’t think I’d get cho­sen to go, ac­tu­ally,” said An­stey. “I’m sur­prised and ex­cited.”

Of­fi­cials are cho­sen from a pool of the best, young ref­er­ees from around the prov­ince when they con­verge on Gan­der for the Of­fi­cials Pro­gram of Ex­cel­lence each sum­mer.

An­stey is a Level III cer­ti­fied of­fi­cial, and thought he per­formed well at the camp. Of­fi­cials are put through a gru­elling cou­ple of days of off-ice con­di­tion­ing. They also of­fi­ci­ate in­ter-squad games for the pro­vin­cial team se­lec­tion camp.

Only the best of the best are given such high pro­file as­sign­ments.

Fel­low of­fi­cials Dougie Kelly and Steven Guy will also be in Monc­ton.

An­stey has been of­fi­ci­at­ing for five years. He views his se­lec­tion as val­i­da­tion of has hard work and com­mit­ment.

“It’s nice to get no­ticed,” he said. “It feels good.”

Ex­cited to go

Like any other per­son in­volved in sports who gets to travel, there is a level of ex­cite­ment. For An­stey, it is no dif­fer­ent. “I’m look­ing for­ward to do­ing a higher level of hockey,” he said.

The prospects of be­ing on the ice with some of the best young tal­ent in the At­lantic prov­inces, in­clud­ing eight from the Trin­i­tyCon­cep­tion re­gion (see re­lated side­bar), nat­u­rally brings with it a cer­tain amount of pres­sure.

An­stey will be eval­u­ated on his per­for­mance, which could open fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties at an even higher level.

An­stey has ex­pe­ri­ence of­fi­ci­at­ing games at the high school and ma­jor midget lev­els in this prov­ince, and is not daunted by the brighter spot­light that an At­lantic tour­na­ment shines.

“I don’t feel any pres­sure about go­ing up there,” he said.

Words of praise

Since An­stey learned of his se­lec­tion to the Chal­lenge Cup tour­na­ment, word has spread like wild­fire.

The Bay Arena Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion sent out a news­let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing An­stey.

Bay Arena ref­eree-in-chief Keith Cronin also sent out an email prais­ing An­stey for the work he has put in over the years, and at the same time con­grat­u­lat­ing him.

“I re­ceived emails from Eddie Rus­sell and Dean Whalen as well, wish­ing me well,” said An­stey. Both are vet­eran hockey of­fi­cials in the re­gion.

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Mark An­stey of Bay Roberts will serve as a lines­man at the up­com­ing At­lantic Chal­lenge Cup hockey tour­ney in Monc­ton, NB.

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