Another Viewpoint: A Referee’s Story

The players aren’t the only ones thrilled to be on the playing field at the world field lacrosse championships.
    The referees are excited, too.

    Brent Coulombe of Welland, Ont., and Adam Crowe of Edmonton are among nine Canadians working as game officials. There are 63 in all.
    “This is the best field lacrosse in the world,’’ says Coulombe. “It doesn’t get any better than this. To be a part of it is a big honour.’’
     Coulombe, 25, also referees box lacrosse games back home and, when it’s not summer, he’s a hockey ref in minor-pro leagues in the United States. There’s a big difference between the two sports in terms of refereeing.
     “There’s three guys calling penalties during a field lacrosse game and in hockey it’s just me,’’ he says.
     Players show more respect for each other in field lacrosse than either box lacrosse or hockey, he says.
     Crowe, 28, an economist for Alberta Health Services, used to live in Britain so coming back to work the world championships is a kick.
     “I played lacrosse and it’s been a big part of my life so it’s nice to come to an event like this,’’ he says.
     Each tournament referee works one game on the field and another as a bench official on the sidelines each day. They had to pass a fitness test when they arrived.
     The selection process is rigorous. In Canada, the governing body of the sport, the Canadian Lacrosse Association, holds tryouts during national championships. Referees are evaluated and, if they make the grade, they are offered trips to world tournaments.
    Team during these championships are informed no sooner than two hours before games who will be refereeing. The referees’ code of conduct forbids them from divulging which games they’re working.
    They are not allowed to referee games involving the country in which they live or with which they hold a passport. The exception is the championship game. In that case, a ref from each of the competing countries is selected.
    Two of the 63 officials are women _ one from England and the other from Slovakia. All of them were required to pass a fitness test when they arrived in Manchester.

Neil Stevens, Team Canada media contact

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