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Edmonton father-son duo referee game together for first time

Father-son duo volunteer in support of Edmonton Minor Hockey Week
WATCH: A ton of volunteer hours go into making Edmonton Minor Hockey Week a success. Among them, a father and son who are helping call the shots. Morgan Black has their story.

Edmonton’s Minor Hockey Week features a rare duo this year — a pair of father and son referees.

Shawn Innes and his son, Brandon, had the chance to call a game together on Monday night.

“My dad got special permission to come down and ref with me, which was really nice,” Brandon explained. “We usually couldn’t because he [referees] higher games than I do.”

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“I was honoured to be refereeing with my son for the very first time. It was pretty exciting,” Shawn said.

The 13-year-old also plays hockey, but this year he wanted to focus on a new skill.

“With Brandon being involved in hockey, I always hoped he would also get into reffing,” Shawn said.

“I think it’s cool to look at the referee view instead of the player view. You really get to see the game differently,” Brandon said. “It’s teaching me things like confidence — to have courage when I’m calling things and not to be nervous.”

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Brandon said he’s picking up on what it takes to be a good referee.

“When you’re at a blue line, look for off-sides. When you’re at a red line, look for icing and whoever has the puck… always be watching them,” he said.

During Minor Hockey Week, referees donate their time.

“For myself, I’m doing 11 games. So, that’s just over $400 worth of services. Altogether, the referees contribute over $50,000 in free services.”

Giving back is another lesson Shawn is excited to pass along to his son.

“I volunteer for the passion of the game. I like being able to help out the association. This is an honour for me,” Shawn said.

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Laughing, Brandon said he thinks his dad may have wanted to referee with him to “critique him,” but also as “a loving gesture too.”

“At the end of the game, I gave him a pat on the back and told him I was proud of him. He did a fantastic job out on the ice,” Shawn said. “He’s still learning, but he’s coming along quite well.”

Brandon, whose hockey team won Minor Hockey Week in 2019, said he’s eager to get back into playing hockey.

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“But I’m also excited to referee the higher divisions. I’ll start doing that in about two years. I think it’ll be funny to referee my friends. If they do anything, guess who gets the final say?” he laughed.