Chris Pontes, a high-level official from Sudbury, Ontario, considers himself “a good Referee, but a better Teammate,” and wants to share this outlook with the young officials attending the 2017-2018 NOHA Development Weekend. A strong athlete who played for the OHL and SPHL, Pontes notes the opportunity to officiate hockey was offered to him through NHL Officiating Manager Dan McCourt, an advocate for local officials in Northern Ontario.
Pontes quickly moved up the officiating ladder, spending time with the NOHA, NOJHL, OHL, and now ECHL and AHL. He attributes his success to a commitment to athleticism, teamwork, and growing by learning from those around him.
“The NOHA helped me develop and get better, and gave me the medium to use my skills and be part of a team,” he says, also citing Matt Davie and Dave Brisebois among those who inspired him to work hard to get where he is today.
This weekend, Pontes will be supervising and instructing young and promising officials at the 2017-2018 NOHA Development Weekend, and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to give back and help others grow and cultivate their skills.
This will be a great experience for these officials, not only to be instructed and supervised by hockey professionals, but to learn about teamwork on a different level.
“It’s a big thing to be a good teammate, and to go out there and understand some of the other guys that you’re working with and maybe taking bits and pieces of someone’s officiating ability or teamwork skills and bringing that into your own artillery on the ice,” Pontes says.
At the NOHA Development weekend, officiating participants will work the games the four Under 15 teams play, as well as take part in fitness testing, power skating sessions, and presentations by the NOJHL and OHL. Chris Pontes stresses the importance of fitness and athleticism in officiating.
When asked what he suggests as ways to develop off the ice, Pontes confirmed that off-ice fitness helped him and many others he knew get to the level he is now. “Taking a functional movement workout that can be translated from the ice to the gym is a big help,” he said, also citing track and rollerblading in the off-season as complementary exercises.
Most importantly, though, is the sense of family, teamwork, and passion officials learn from Development Weekend. “If you’re having fun and working hard, chances are you’re going to be able to go up the ranks and enjoy it as well.”
The NOHA 2017-2018 Development Weekend kicks off Friday, August 10th through August 12th. The brightest players, coaches, and officials will be present to learn new skills, forge new bonds, and further develop the face of hockey in Northern Ontario.