Sean Reid quit playing hockey at age 19 and took a serious interest in officiating when he realized "I was a bad player."
That serious interest is now taking him to the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver.
Reid, 28, of London has been selected by the OHL as one of four referees to work the Canadian Hockey League championship tournament that opens Friday.
It's his first Memorial Cup after just four years as an OHL referee.
Reid just finished working the Plymouth-Sudbury league championship. He didn't expect to get the call for Vancouver, considering it was his first OHL final and given the experience of the others working it.
"It was a surprise for sure, especially with Brad Beer and Mark Hicks, and they've both worked the Memorial Cup. And Scott Hoberg (also in the final) is just out of the NHL trainee program," Reid said yesterday.
"Working with those guys in the final and the experiences they brought, my confidence grew with the games, but I didn't really think it would happen this year."
The WHL is sending two referees to the Cup and the QMJHL one as the CHL will utilize two referees for each game for the first time.
Reid began refereeing minor hockey when he was 12. He played minor, high school at Lucas, then junior B with the London Nationals before trading his playing sweater for stripes.
He began umpiring baseball when he was 14 and currently works the Intercounty league and London District Baseball League.
"I saw refereeing as a chance to pick up some money," he said of when he was getting $15 a game. "It was the same with umpiring. It was just another officiating opportunity."
Sports officials are often compared with police officers with the reference to "the long arm of the law." Reid comes by that naturally as his father John has been with the RCMP for 33 years.
John Reid, who lives in Ottawa, is now a superintendent adjudicator, presiding over Mountie court martials.
As a trial judge, he requires strong communication skills and patience. OHL vice-president Ted Baker said Sean Reid exhibits those traits on the ice and is why he was selected.
"This is a credit to Sean as he was chosen for his very good communication skills and his calling of games," Baker said. "His officiating in the final was deemed the best of an elite group."
Reid has also refereed the East Coast and United leagues and has been selected by Hockey Canada to work three IIHF world championships; the 2005 under-20 B pool in Mexico City, the 2006 under-20 B pool in Riga, Latvia, and the 2007 senior B pool in Seoul, South Korea. He also worked the 2005 Canadian university championship in Edmonton.
"International experience is an important ingredient to any official," Baker said. "Having different experiences along the way helps you be better refined. I'm sure that's contributed to Sean's overall development."