SUBMITTED PHOTO Tri-Port Referee in Chief James Bramham won VIAHA’s Official of the Year Award.

Bramham wins VIAHA award

Bramham has been a referee for the Tri-Port since 2010.

Port McNeill’s John Bramham has won the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association’s (VIAHA) Official of the Year Award.

Bramham has been a referee for the Tri-Port since 2010, and in 2014-2015 he became the Referee in Chief (RIC) for Tri-Port Minor Hockey.

Excerpts from Bramham’s nomination letter:

Cyndy Grant – “It is my distinct pleasure to submit a nomination for John Bramham for the VIAHA Official of the Year Award. I am a hockey mom with three boys playing with the North Island Eagles. My two older boys have taken the officiating clinic with John and have been mentored by him as officials over the past five years. This nomination comes from the Tri-Port Minor Hockey Association and affiliated clubs/teams on the North Island: North Island Eagles, Tri-Port Wild, Port McNeill Minor Hockey, Port Alice Minor Hockey and Port Hardy Minor Hockey. The fact that we are all behind this nomination is testament to how much we value the contributions that John has made over the years to our hockey programs on the North Island.”

Senior Official Dennis Foster – “Getting senior referees seems to be getting tougher every year. Having rinks in three separate towns and trying to supply refs for those rinks is even tougher. On the North Island we quite often find ourselves refereeing in all three rinks in one day! Many of us do it occasionally. John seems to pick up the slack on a regular basis with his son James to make sure all games are officiated every weekend. John spends countless hours scheduling officials and helping both young and old officials through the hockey season. John is a teacher at our local high school during the day. This helps big time because it allows him lots of interaction with our local young hockey players for recruitment for both the current year and the following years of ref courses. Mr. Bramham has done an exceptional job for our North Island hockey clubs over the years. He has certainly gone above and beyond his regular duties as RIC for us.”

Tri-Port Minor Hockey Association Administrator Kevin Laird – “John is currently the Referee in Chief for Tri-Port Minor Hockey Association. I’ve personally known John for many years and he is a very worthy candidate for this award… John became certified as an official in 2010, and has served faithfully as an official every season since that time. In the 2014-2015 season, John became the RIC for Tri-Port MHA, a position he still holds. In this short period of three years since taking over as the RIC, it’s difficult to find words to express how invaluable his services are to a small organization such as ours. John has personally mentored dozens of referees during his tenure… Unfortunately for Tri-Port MHA, John has given us notice he will be stepping down from the RIC role at the end of this season. I am not sure how we will able to function without him going forward, however we will be wishing him well upon his retirement from this role if that’s what he decides to do.”

Tanya Spafford, North Island Wild – “We appreciate how John has managed the reffing program on the North Island. I have watched him mentor the new officials with patience during breaks in games; he uses every opportunity as a teaching moment… John has been very supportive of our girls Wild program.”

North Island Eagles Hockey Club Co-President, Jennie-Lynn Noel – “I have dealt with John in my role as President of the North Island Eagles, and as a coach with the Intro Wild girls hockey program. John is reliable, fair and calm, just what you want in a Referee in Chief. He runs the referee program so smoothly, you don’t even know what is happening behind the scenes. He assigns the right calibre of referees to the appropriate games. The referees he supervises show up on time, prepared and highly competent… I understand that he is stepping down after this season, but has offered to mentor the incoming RIC until they get up to speed. He will be missed.”

Port Alice Minor Hockey Club’s Nathalie Stewart – “Port Alice Minor Hockey is incredibly lucky to have had John Bramham as our head official. Not only does he organize, help train, and schedule all of our refs but he is also an unbelievable mentor for our young officials on and off the ice… On behalf of Port Alice Minor Hockey we would like to thank Mr. Bramham for his dedication to this game we all love!”

Port Hardy Minor Hockey Club Director and Tournament Organizer Sabrina Dent – “In my dealings with John, he has always done his best to get every available official to cover all games and sometimes when we’ve been challenged with league games, tournaments all going on at the same time in the Tri-Port arenas, he’s been the one to run and cover the missing games or has donated his ‘pay’ back to the tournament… He has always been very generous, personable, accomodating, and takes the time to explain any particular calls on the ice that were questioned by parents or tournament organizers.”

Port McNeill Minor Hockey Club Vice President David Jack – “I cannot even begin to understand what John actually does and this is testament to why he is so deserving of this distinguished award… Where John shines is he does not just put lines-people and referees on the ice, he manages to put together officiating teams. He makes sure that our newer, younger referees are teamed up with more experienced people. He has built an officiating program where the more seasoned referees understand their roll is not just to provide excellent officiating, but is to mentor younger, newer people into the program… I am sure VIAHA will get multiple nominations for Official of the Year, but I cannot even imaginge there would be anyone else who could compete with what John Bramham has brought to hockey on the island.”

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