Alberta’s hockey community is filled with incredible people and incredible stories. From those who coached us, volunteered for us, kept our skates sharp and our ice fast, those who get up before the sun and make sure we’re up too. To the players who went to their first ever practice, scored the game winning goal or made it to the big leagues - we all have stories to tell about the game we love, and why we love it.
When Edmonton’s Kyle Kowalski got the call that he would be officiating at the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships in his hometown later this month, he was hit with a flood of emotion.
“I got a phone call from our referee-in-chief. He just said ‘congratulations on your selection’, and I was just absolutely floored," Kowalski said.
First, he is a born and raised Edmontonian, so working a prestigious international tournament in his home town is an honour.
But he also has officiating in his blood. Not only is Kowalski a long-time Hockey Alberta official, his father Kevin was an official who also has a tie to the World Juniors. In 1995, his father officiated an exhibition game in Grande Prairie when the World Junior Championship was hosted in Red Deer.
Kowalski idolized his father growing up, so every time he steps on the ice to officiate, it’s a special moment for him.
“One of my fondest memories is still just walking behind my dad into the rink at Akinsdale Arena, and then seeing him on the ice as your hero, and now I have the ability to do that," he said.
Kowalski has previously worked the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, 2018 Hlinka/Gretzky Cup and was selected to officiate the 2020 USports Cup that was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Kowalski will work as part of a crew of 26 Canadian Officials assigned to the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. He will be joined by fellow Albertans Fraser Lawrence and Deion Foster.
Hockey Alberta wants to share your stories and celebrate the hockey community in our province.
Let’s thank those who show up for us every day and highlight the depth of hockey in Alberta.
Each week we are highlighting your stories on the Hockey Alberta social media. Tell us why you, or someone you know is ‘Hockey For Life’ - the impact hockey has had on you or the impact you’ve had on hockey
Record an interview, tell us your story on camera or write to us in the form below.
Keep your story brief - submissions may be edited for length and clarity. Videos will be edited to under two minutes.
Upload photos and videos to a cloud based service and share a link with us for download.