MACKLIN – Chris Crich, a familiar name to Macklin residents, has been awarded the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy as WHL Official of the Year for 2022-23,
He also earned the award in 2021-22.
The Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald and SASKTODAY.ca had a Dec. 2022 story on the remarkable hockey officiating career of Crich.
“Crich, who hails from Airdrie, Alta., recently completed his 17th season as a WHL Official, beginning his tenure as a linesman in 2006-07 before refereeing his first WHL regular season game in 2007-08,” the WHL relrease says.
Crich grew up in Macklin playing minor hockey there, then directing his love of hockey into officiating roles.
“I share this award with many people, most importantly my family – my wife Alexis, thank you for the continued support every year," Crich says.
"If it wasn’t for you looking after our boys, I would not be able to continue this passion of mine. To my boys, Carson and Cooper, thank you for being my biggest fans. My favourite games were always the ones where you were at the tunnel to greet me going on or coming off the ice.
“To my parents – for the continued support through 17 years in the Western Hockey League, plus many more before that. The encouragement was needed to keep going on a lot of nights. You were always there for a phone call to talk about the good games, but most importantly the tough games. To the rest of my family on both sides, thank you – I share this award with all of you.”
The 39-year-old Crich has officiated nearly 700 WHL regular season games and more than 100 WHL playoff contests.
Crich has been an integral part of the officiating crew, having been named to six consecutive WHL Championship Series (2015-2019, 2022). He also represented the WHL as a referee for the 2019 Memorial Cup in Halifax, N.S.
In December 2022, Crich was presented with the WHL Milestone Award as recognition for his outstanding achievements.
Named in honour of former WHL Referee Allen Paradice, the award recognizes the league’s top on-ice official and is voted upon annually by WHL general managers.