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WHL honours former Macklin resident, Chris Crich

Macklin shares home-town pride in Chris Crich, who recently received a milestone award from the Western Hockey League.

MACKLIN — Residents of Macklin may remember a minor hockey player named Chris Crich, who also began his officiating career in the local arena.

Crich was recently honoured by the Western Hockey League with the WHL Milestone Award for his work. Crich was recognized by WHL Senior Director Officiating Kevin Muench in a special ceremony prior to this evening’s game between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels.

Kim Gartner, CAO of the town of Macklin says, “I had the pleasure of coaching Chris when he played minor hockey in Macklin. That is also where he started his refereeing career.

“Chris was always a detail-oriented referee and at a young age he showed a love for the game of hockey. Chris has been a role model for many young referees, and as a community we are proud to have supported him along the way.”

Taylor Rocca, director of Communications for the WHL tells the Press-Herald and, “Chris Crich has been a WHL official since the 2006-07 season. This is his 17th season officiating in the WHL.”

The WHL Milestone Award is presented to WHL players, coaches, trainers, officials and WHL championship teams for outstanding achievements, according to a WHL press release. “In the case of WHL Officials, including Crich, they are recognized upon skating in 650 career regular season games,” says Rocca.

Rocca also adds these highlights from Crich’s career: skating in six WHL Championship Series in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022; and one Memorial Cup event in Halifax in 2019.

“On behalf of the WHL and our member Cclubs, we would like to congratulate Chris on receiving this prestigious WHL Milestone Award,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “It takes a tremendous commitment to be an official in the WHL and we would like to thank Chris for his remarkable service to our league over the past 16 seasons.”

Crich who now hails from Airdrie, Alta. skated his first career WHL regular season game during the 2006-07 season and his tally of games worked includes 111 WHL playoff games.

During the 2021-22 season, Crich was recognized for his outstanding efforts when he was awarded the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the WHL’s top official.

Outside the WHL, Crich has worked extensively in Canadian University hockey, including the 2019 U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship as well as the 2014, 2016, and 2017 Canada West Men’s Hockey Championships.