Every month, officials are encouraged to apply for a chance to become "Official Of The Month". The Official Of The Month will be featured on our Referee's Crease blog and will also receive a free gift from Hockey Ref Shop.
Congratulations to Anthony Vikhter for being selected as the February Official Of The Month!
The Hockey Ref Shop Official Of The Month is a monthly program that recognizes officials from across the world for the great work that they do!
Check out our interview with Anthony below:
Name: Anthony Vikhter
Home Town: Morton Grove, IL
Current Town: Lake Forest, IL (Currently in my senior year at Lake Forest College)
Years of Officiating experience: 10 total, 6 in junior hockey.
What do you enjoy to do outside of officiating?
My major interests include golf, volunteering, cooking, the financial markets, and WWII History. I am also heavily involved at school with student organizations and clubs.
When and why did you start officiating?
I started officiating when I was 12 years old because I wanted to buy new goalie pads. From there, I attended my first referee seminar in Skokie wearing goalie skates and a red helmet...
What is your greatest memory or proudest moment as an official?
One of my proudest moments/memories from last season was skating the 2018 NA3HL Fraser Cup and NAHL Robertson Cup Championship Games. It’s obviously a tremendous honor to be a part of such a distinct group of officials and serves as a reminder of why we choose our profession despite the heavy travel schedule and difficult situations we put ourselves through on and off the ice.
Do you have any superstitious pre-game rituals?
Not so much a superstition, but during the national anthem I like to give myself a quick “pep talk” which usually includes thanking the people that are closest to me and are supporters of mine in life and hockey.
What are your long-term goals with officiating?
I aspire to work the upper professional/NCAA ranks, as well as international assignments – I’m fluent in Russian so you never know when it may come in handy!
Why do you think others should try officiating?
Officiating is a great opportunity for those who want to stay involved with the game and be with the best of ‘em… God knows I couldn’t play nearly at the levels I am fortunate enough to officiate!
What advice would you give to a new official entering their first season?
Be open to learning. There are many life lessons to be learned in officiating, and there are surely exponentially more life lessons that can be applied. Common sense, passion, and a little bit of hard work will always take you a long way.
General pro tips/words of wisdom that may help other officials improve their game:
I won’t take credit for this one, but I was once told by a wise and old officiating mogul: “When refereeing a hockey game, every decision you make should be 80/20… 80% common sense, 20% rulebook.” This has really helped me out when making decisions, whether big or small (and get through absolute gongshows!).
How did you hear about Hockey Ref Shop?
Eric Arrigo and I have been friends since the age of 14, travelling all around the country together to referee camps and tournaments to further our passion onto the next level. When Eric came to me for the idea of Hockey Ref Shop, I immediately knew it would be successful given Eric’s passion, work ethic, and extreme knack for idea generation and innovation. Throwing Haley into the mix, and they are the true definition of turning a dream into reality. Their brand is a true representation of the specific needs and aspirations of hockey officiating, and that translates directly to the products they develop and sell. I am a huge fan of HRS!
Helment/Visor: CCM V08, CCM Straight-Short Visor
Whistle: ACME Rose Gold (Courtesy of Hockey Ref Shop!!!!)
Shin Tights: Hockey Ref Shop
Skates: Bauer MX3s
Protective: CCM Shin Pads, Lax Elbows… you know the rest!
If you would like to submit yourself or nominate a friend for the March Official Of The Month please send us a short email to HockeyRefShop@gmail.com on why you (or your friend) should be selected.