A Yorkton, Sask.-born linesman is one step closer to living out his dream and suiting up for a National Hockey League (NHL) game.
Tarrington Wyonzek found out in June that he’d be hired as a full-time on-ice official for both the American Hockey League (AHL) and East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for the 2019-20 season.
“It’s really cool. I kind of found out at the end of last season that I may have some opportunities come my way,” Wyonzek said.
“I kept it kind of quiet until I was 100 per cent sure, but it was definitely exciting. I called my parents as soon as I found out that it was for real.”
The 27-year-old spent the past six years as a linesman in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and was given the opportunity to work in two Memorial Cup tournaments — last year in Halifax and the year before in Regina. It’s an experience he will never forget.
“Unbelievable. A lot of those kids playing in the Memorial Cup are going to be playing pro hockey and the NHL,” Wyonzek said.
“It’s definitely the best hockey you can possibly work in the junior ranks.”
Wyonzek will call Greenville, S.C., home this season, but will spend a lot of time on the road, working anywhere from 80-100 games.
Having spent more time travelling in Western Canada while in the WHL, he said he is looking forward to experiencing a different area and culture.
“That was one of the reasons I got excited about getting this offer to come down here. I haven’t really travelled a ton throughout the United States. This is a great opportunity for me to see a lot of different cities,” Wyonzek said.
His first official game of the season is on Friday when the Norfolk Admirals open up the regular season against the visiting Florida Everglades.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to get rolling. The WHL regular season starts that third week of September so I’m used to being on the ice for two, three weeks already,” Wyonzek said.
Wyonzek said he is looking to have a standout season and is using this opportunity to get better, with one day hoping to take the next stride.
“The NHL is obviously the goal. A lot of the players in pro are trying to make the NHL and that’s the same for a lot of the officials,” Wyonzek said.
“I was told growing up that you had to conquer every league if you want to advance to the next one. My goal is to have a really good year and do the best I can.”
Wyonzek isn’t the only official in the family working at a high level. His younger brother Tannum is a current linesman in the WHL with hopes of one day following in Wyonzek’s footsteps.