Clarke honoured by Hockey N.S.

Justin Dickie
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Springhill resident named most deserving official

For years Gary Clarke has been key in developing young hockey officials in Cumberland County, and it took a provincial award before he'd acknowledge it.

Clarke honoured by Hockey N.S.

For years Gary Clarke has been key in developing young hockey officials in Cumberland County, and it took a provincial award before he'd acknowledge it.

Clarke, a Halifax native and a 28-year resident of Springhill, was recently presented Hockey Nova Scotia's Most Deserving Official award at the 33rd annual HNS awards banquet in Halifax.

"He's really good with the young kids. They look at that award as a mentor-type thing, somebody who gives back to officiating," said Jon Tannahill, referee-in-chief for Cumberland County Minor Hockey. "He's been in it for awhile and he works great with the young kids who are just starting out. He's really good with dealing with the players as well. He's got that kind of personality."

With all Clarke has done for officiating in the county over the years, don't you think he'd at least ponder the possibility of getting some sort of recognition?

"No. Never. It's not my style. I'd rather not be (honoured), but it was a nice surprise," Clarke said. "I was very appreciative of the nomination."

Clarke has been officiating for about 20 years. He started when he was 16 before taking a break to coach his kids through minor hockey. As his kids got older, he got back into refereeing because they wanted to start doing it as well.

He referees novice to midget AAA and is a linesman for Junior 'A' and 'B'.

"He's not looking for any recognition. It was a no-brainer for me who I would nominate for that particular award. He's got a special type of personality and he really cares," Tannahill said.

Clarke, director of education services for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board said he enjoys officiating because it gives him a break from his job, despite the ridicule that comes with being a hockey official. Most of all, he referees for the love of hockey.

"I love the game," he said. "Getting on the ice, being with the children, being with the other referees. It's about being part of a game that you love."



jdickie@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Cumberland County Minor Hockey, AAA, Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Springhill, Halifax, Cumberland County Chignecto

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