SUMMER SILK, PEI –
Tanner Doiron found a way to stay involved in a game he loves after deciding not to play it anymore.
The 21-year-old from Schurman’s Point started playing hockey under 13 at the age of 12. It was a way to get extra Ice Age and earn some pocket money.
With a lot of hard work and dedication, he has quickly progressed through the ranks and will be recognized as the Official of the Year on Wednesday at Sport PEI’s annual awards banquet.
Doiron said the award recognizes top officials from all sports in the province and the list of past winners includes some of the people he looked up to in his sport.
“It’s a very special feeling and a humble feeling to be part of that group of people,” he said.
These are the previous 10 recipients of the PEI Mutual Insurance Official of the Year award:
2019 Mandy Li, taekwondo.
2018 Michael French, softball.
2017 Farida Chishti, table tennis.
2016 Marguerite Middleton, swimming.
2015 Kent Walker, baseball.
2014 Darryl Boudreau, rugby.
2013 Mike Jones, rugby.
2012 Marguerite Middleton, swimming.
2011 Nancy Hashie, figure skater.
2010 Roy Main, tennis.
Doiron was a home defender who grew up through the Summerside and Area Minor Hockey Association. He was often paired with Noah Dobson on a team that included Jeremy McKenna, Carson MacKinnon and Brodie MacArthur. They won the international under-13 hockey tournament in Quebec in 2012.
“It’s really cool to see where everyone is now,” said Doiron.
He completed the on-call clinic when he was 12 and approached Steve Dyer, who was the head referee at Summerside, about working on a number of games. He continued to play and officiate until under-15, but knew the duty side was getting busier as he approached under-18.
“I love hockey, but I knew I wasn’t really going to go with it,” he said. “I got reffing from some higher level games and loved the side of things.
“I kind of made the choice to take a year off and then I just never started playing again. I just grew my passion for leadership. “
It has allowed him to stay connected to the game and join a new team.
“I think it is one of the closest positions to be part of the game,” he said. “No matter how often people think that referees have an individual role, it is a team mentality. We always say we are the third team on the ice. “
MacKinnon, who plays with the UPEI Hockey Panthers, said some of the skills Doiron used as a hockey player today are evident in his role in wearing the striped shirt.
“He was a very good skater, and you can see it (now). As a linesman in the (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), you need to keep up with the pace. “
MacKinnon said he is happy to see his friend doing well.
“He made that leap to major junior at a fairly young age,” he said. “He certainly does his job well and he is definitely making a name for himself. He’s doing great and I think this is just the beginning for him. “
Doiron was official in the league of Quebec three years ago. He also does college, junior, and some under-18 matches. It could mean many hours on the road in a week, although it is difficult to put a number on it.
He also completes his studies in business administration, specializing in marketing at UPEI, and is manager of hockey activities and communications at Hockey PEI. In the summer, he signs up as president of the Summerside Area Baseball Association. He has worked with the city of Summerside for five summers and thanks that experience for helping him grow in other professions.
“In the beginning I worked with the late Paul Gallant and he taught me a lot about planning your time and using it wisely,” said Doiron, who noted the importance of prioritizing different tasks.
Doiron will not be able to attend Wednesday’s presentation in person as he will be isolating during junior A and major junior games on the island under COVID-19 restrictions.
His parents, Lisa and Garth Doiron, will receive the prize on his behalf.
Thane Arsenault, who won the award in 1998, has worked games with Doiron and noted that it is worthy of recognition for a dedicated young man who is willing to learn and is willing to listen.
“It is certainly a feather in the cap of Tanner’s hat to be recognized for his efforts,” he said. “He’s just a polite, respectful young man who did a very, very good job. I am proud of the boy. “
Doiron said he has been lucky enough to learn and support a number of people during his young career, such as Arsenault and Justin DesRoches on the spot and Richard Trottier, director of observing for the QMJHL.
“Richard Trottier has given me so much confidence. He has trusted me in many situations, ”he said.
Doiron, who will graduate from UPEI this spring, isn’t sure what the future holds, but he knows one thing.
“Obviously I want to keep exercising,” he chuckled.
MacKinnon sees more good things coming for the hard-working civil servant.
“I think this is just the beginning for him. I think he has the potential to take that step to become a pro as a linesman. “
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