Trail referee Jim Maniago will be in the middle of the action when the Doyle Cup gets under way this weekend.
The best-of-seven series between the BCHL champion Vernon Vipers and the Alberta Junior Hockey League champion Spruce Grove Saints begins Friday night in Vernon.
Maniago and Steve Papp will be the two referees for Game 1 of the series and serve as back ups for Game 2 on Saturday.
Trail’s Grant Tyson was also selected to officiate the series but was unable due to work commitments.
It will mark the first time Maniago has officiated the Doyle Cup, he was selected last year but unable to accept due to prior commitments, which will determine which team represents the Pacific region at the RBC Cup.
“Jim has been around a long time in the BCHL and has proven to be one of our top officials year after year,” said Derek Adams, the BCHL’s director of officiating.
“He brings a veteran presence to the ice with lots of patience and composure.
“He has also developed a strong rapport with our coaches which in turn makes him confident about the game being called in a way that both teams can compete hard and with lots of intensity.”
This will mark the second straight year that the Saints and the Vipers have met in the Doyle Cup. Last year’s series went to a deciding seventh game in Vernon where Montrose natives Connor and Kellen Jones combined for three goals in a 7-3 Vipers victory. Vernon went on to claim its second straight RBC title.
Maniago said there could be some carryover from last year although he doesn’t expect to get out of hand.
“There may be a bit of carryover (from last year),” he said. “Most times the teams have never seen each other.
“But it likely won’t make any difference though, this time of year, teams are just playing and you don’t see much rough stuff, there’s too much at stake.”
Adams added that Papp will be the BCHL official at the RBC Cup, where the two-man system will continue to be employed.
He said the BCHL is considering using the system more frequently, perhaps for the entire playoffs.
“There are plans to use the two-referee system next year in certain situations. First I will be making a proposal at the BCHL annual general meeting to the executive and board of governors to use the two-referee system as a training tool for our younger officials coming into the league.
“Second will be to use the two-referee system throughout the entire playoffs next year.”
Adams had two schools of thought on the implementation of the system this year.
“I like what the two-referee system brings in terms of teamwork and making the right call, but I think it is too bad the game has gotten to the point that we need two referees on the ice to watch for and control the undisciplined behavior of some players.”