Skip to content

Most families hike, swim, or ski, but one Maple Ridge family prefers to ref together

Colin Toupin and his two sons referee together for first time in Ridge Meadows minor hockey game
(L-R) Luke Toupin, 15, Kai Toupin, 13, and Colin Toupin shared the ice as referees during the Dec. 11 game at the Pitt Meadows Arena Complex. (Colin Toupin/Special to The News)

Reffing hockey is a family tradition in the Toupin household, with Colin Toupin and his two sons taking the ice in the signature zebra stripes for the first time together during a Dec. 11 minor hockey game in Pitt Meadows.

Colin, who is a teacher at Maple Ridge Secondary School, has been officiating local hockey games for four years now, which is the same amount of time that his oldest son Luke, 15, has also been refereeing games. However, his other son Kai, 13, has only been donning the stripes for two years, making this the first opportunity all three of them have had to share the ice together as officials.

“It was a moment I will never forget, even though the boys were slightly embarrassed taking photos with their father,” said Colin.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen off to strong offensive start in Switzerland

The journey into refereeing started as a way for Colin to be alongside Luke and help him navigate the waters of abusive coaches or parents.

“Many referees do not continue past their first or second year in fear of being yelled at by coaches,” Colin explained. “Having an adult on the ice changes the dynamics on the ice. I have the confidence to skate over to a coach and tell him or her to settle down and remind them they are speaking to 13-year-olds.”

“I continue to referee for the same reason for my youngest son, but also because I enjoy being an official immensely. I am a teacher and I find it very rewarding passing on information to young officials and also the young players, especially when it comes to safety on the ice.”

RELATED: Maple Ridge rower identified for Olympic potential

During the game, Colin showed his sons that being a referee means inevitably making mistakes and learning from them.

“In the very first five minutes of the game, I blew a pretty bad call,” he said. “Live and learn. Well, sometimes we just live.”

Being able to officiate alongside his two sons was a very rewarding experience for Colin and is something that he said he would love to be able to do again in the near future.

“I continue to learn from them every time I get onto the ice with them.”

Have a story tip? Email:
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
Read more