At the recent IIHF U20 World Championship Division III, Instanbul, Turkiye, two IHA game officials were members of the “third team” on the ice. Nick Air was assigned as a Referee, and Russell Dow assigned as a Linesperson. Both officials made their debut appearance at an IIHF World Championship and established themselves as capable and dependable officials for the IIHF.

Our officials were in action from day 1 of the Championship. Nick officiated Israel vs South Africa, and whilst the score was one-sided, the game still had that competitive spark that required Nick to call upon his training to ensure a fair outcome for all players. This was closely followed by Russell working Bosnia and Herzegovina vs New Zealand. Whilst the score was not as one-sided as the previous game, there were some close calls and fast hockey enabling Russell to showcase his talents and get the job done.

Day 2 saw Russell return to the ice for Turkiye vs South Africa. The teams were still playing hard and fast and once again Russell was able to leverage his skills to ensure both teams had the opportunity to win the game.

A special moment on day 4 seeing both Nick and Russell working the Israel vs Turkey game. There was a sense of familiarity during the game and all officials gelled well.

Day 5 had Nick taking to the ice for Israel vs Bosnia and Hercegovina. By now nerves had settled and Nick had found his groove and was comfortable on the ice. Whilst officials know that every game has its challenges, being in a World Championship environment provides opportunities for immediate coaching and opportunities to implement feedback which greatly improves the growth of an official.

As the Championship was drawing to a close, both Nick and Russell worked together again for the Israel vs Turkey game, followed by Russell working the Bronze medal game of Bulgaria vs Turkey. A great achievement by both officials.

We caught up with Nick Air at the conclusion of the Championship to get his take on this amazing experience:

What was it like being at your first IIHF International tournament?

It’s an amazing experience. It has been good to learn from the officiating coaches Peter Gebei and Alvin Lim, who both have extensive officiating experience at some of the highest levels of international ice hockey, as well as all the other officials at the tournament.

What have you enjoyed during your time at the Championship?

I have enjoyed everything. It was an amazing experience to walk around Istanbul and view historical landmarks such as the Grand Bazaar and the Hagia Sophia.

How did you like the facilities?

The facilities have been outstanding I wish we could have more facilities like this in Australia so we could host more world championships.


Credit: Ice Hockey Australia

April 06, 2023 — sean sonter