Amarillo: John Rey finds himself at the center of the hockey world this month as he prepares to officiate in the World Junior Championships in Edmonton beginning on Sunday, Dec 26.
Rey played three seasons in Amarillo from 2010-13 and served as the Bulls’ captain in the 2013 championship season. The former Amarillo star knows how important the tournament is and understands the excitement surrounding the event.
” As a former junior hockey player, and just a true fan of the sport, this is one of the biggest events of the year… this opportunity is just unbelievable,” John Rey said.
Rey goes from watching the tournament at every chance he got to being at the epicenter of one of hockey’s premier events on the calendar.
“I remember being in college and having days off during the holiday break and the whole team getting together to watch all the games,” Rey said. ” The intensity and excitement that this event brings year after year is unmatched.”
The tournament goes from Dec 26 through Jan 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. To officiate an event like the World Juniors, the amount of preparation can make all the difference come game time.
“We watch film and discuss the rules and different situations… but probably most importantly we [officials] spend time together to bond and come together as a group,” Rey said.
Preparing to work such a hallmark event requires time away from home, but Rey has a strong support system that has allowed him to focus completely on the upcoming tournament.
“Being away from my wife is tough, but she is so supportive, so it allows me to truly immerse myself into this tournament knowing she’s got my back,” Rey Said.
As the first game approaches, John along with the other officials continue to bond and prepare to be the best possible group on the ice. The atmosphere of the championships brings extra motivation for the officiating staff.
“Come Boxing Day, it’s game on and I could not be more pumped… They all have do-or-die game 7 type of atmospheres, and those are the games officials want to work,” Rey said. ” At the end of the day, we are the 11th team at this tournament, and we strive to be the best one here.”