Making hockey a family affair
Family trio work first hockey game together
In Conception Bay North the name Cronin is synonymous with hockey refereeing. Father Keith and his two sons Kyle and Luke are all members of the Bay Arena referee association and a couple of weeks ago they worked a game together. It was a family first for the three Cronin boys.
You might call being a hockey referee the family business for the Cronins of South River.
It’s a name synonymous with officiating in the province and locally in Conception Bay North.
Keith, the father, spent 25 years as an official prior to stepping away a decade ago and has recently returned to the brotherhood. His oldest son Kyle has been donning the stripes for several years and his youngest child Luke is in his second year with the Bay Arena referee’s association.
Between them, there’s more than 30 years of experience on the ice. They’ve done games at the high school and major midget levels, while they’ve also done plenty of house league and all-star hockey in their careers.
There was one thing they had never done since Keith got the business rolling years ago and that’s work a game together. Keith was referee-in-chief when Kyle started but he was never on the ice, while Kyle and Luke worked the same games, but as linesman and scorekeeper.
That changed a couple of weeks ago when all three Cronins worked a peewee house league game as an officiating crew. Kyle donned the red stripes as the referee while Luke and Keith were his linesmen.
“It was pretty cool,” said Kyle. “I never thought we’d be able to do it.”
In the ten years Keith had been gone, there’s been a couple of changes made to the procedures for officials. Things like raising your hand as the front linesman when calling icing and the two-line pass were eliminated from the game awhile back, but were around the last time he worked a game as a linesman.
He even had to buy all new gear because Kyle had ripped up his old equipment when he first started.
“It was a good game,” said Keith. “I did a couple of things wrong, going back to the oldschool.”
Aside from those couple of hiccups, the experience left a mark for all three of them.
It was something new for Luke. He’d been influenced to become an official by his father and his brother, yet he’d never seen his father on the ice.
Likewise, Kyle was drawn to officiating because of his father.
“It was pretty good,” Luke said of the experience. It was something he never thought possible before this year.
Having a father and his two sons on the ice at the same time is a rarity. You might find a father and one son depending on their age or two brothers, but all three at the same time doesn’t come around very often.
Keith knew coming back this year would give him the opportunity to work a game with his boys.
“Being out there with them made me a proud dad,” said Keith.
“It was special,” added Kyle.
It’s rare to see a father and his two sons work a hockey game as officials at the same time. Yet that’s what the Cronins, from left, Keith, Luke and Kyle did when they all donned the stripes for a peewee house league game at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts earlier this month.