2015 rbc cup mills official 640

Mills makes his mark at major events

Vancouver-based linesman making a name for himself on international stage at 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Chris Jurewicz
May 16, 2015

How is this for a résumé?

2013 Memorial Cup final in Saskatoon, Sask. 2014 RBC Cup final in Vernon, B.C. 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship bronze medal game in Toronto, Ont.

And let’s not forget the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, which is currently being held in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Bevan Mills has been on the ice for some incredible hockey games over the past few years and the 27-year-old is one of this country’s rising officiating stars. Mills, a native of Surrey, B.C., , was the lone Canadian chosen to work this year’s world championship.

“I began officiating when I was 12 with my local association, Surrey Minor,” says Mills over email from the Czech Republic. “My grandfather, who was once an official, and my parents suggested it was a great way to get extra ice to improve my skating and an opportunity to better learn the rules of the game. After attending my local referee clinic, I started working minor hockey games and tournaments.”

Mills says he’s had skates on his feet for as long as he can remember. A pretty good player growing up, Mills competed right through to Midget. Officiating, though, became a passion of his soon after he threw on the striped sweater.

Mills looked at officiating as a great way to stay in the game and his best shot to rise through the ranks.

And rise he did, with Mills moving on from minor hockey to work games in the BCHL and WHL. In 2013, he received the Brad Lazarowich Award, which goes to the top linesman in the BCHL.

So what makes great referees and linesmen?

“Communication is a big part of our job,” says Mills. “The ability to relay information to all game participants is very important, especially with your teammates. Things happen so fast in the game that you have to have ability to read the play and put yourself in a position with the best sight line to make the call. Great communication, rule knowledge, skating ability, and a high hockey IQ are the marks of great officials.”

Mills clearly has those attributes. Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation, just like the National Hockey League, rate their referees and linesmen throughout each season and the best of the best get the honour of working the most important games.

Mills has turned heads more than a few times and seems to relish working the biggest games.

He points to his experience at the 2014 RBC Cup in Vernon as a major step forward in his officiating career.

“The RBC Cup was a great experience. At the start of every year, you set a goal to work as long into the season as you can,” says Mills. “Being selected to work the championship game (a 4-3 Yorkton Terriers overtime win over the Carleton Place Canadians) makes all the hard work and the time spent on the road away from home worth it. Spending time with the guys is always a highlight. We had a really good group and were able to have a lot of fun on and off the ice.”

In March, Mills received a phone call from B.C. Hockey referee-in-chief Sean Raphael with news that Mills had been selected as a linesman for the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Similar to the joy a player feels putting on the Maple Leaf, Mills says he’s always honoured and proud to represent his country internationally.

As of Tuesday, Mills had worked six games at the world championship, including four games involving international powerhouses Russia or the United States.

What’s next? Where does Mills want officiating to take him? Well, to the main event, of course.

“I have always dreamed of being in the National Hockey League,” he says. “When I realized I wasn't going to get there as a player, I shifted my focus to serving the game as an official. I hope to one day get the call from the NHL to have the opportunity to be on the ice as an official with the best players in the world.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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