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Picked for the Paralympics

With just over one week until puck drop in Beijing, meet the two Canadian officials who will represent our country in para hockey at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

Lee Boyadjian
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February 25, 2022
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The start of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is just seven days away, the end goal for so many athletes over the last four years. But as the 17 members of Canada’s Paralympic Hockey Team head off for Beijing, there are two other Canadians we will see on the ice.

Kevin Webinger and Matt Fergenbaum have been selected to represent Canada at the Paralympics, but instead of red and white, they’ll be in black and white. Time to get to know the referee and linesperson.



Kevin Webinger (Referee)

Hometown: Calgary, Alta.

Webinger decided officiating seemed like a better part-time job than babysitting when he was just 12 years old. Twenty-plus years later, he still says it’s better than babysitting. He found his way into para hockey almost by accident, when the World Sledge Hockey Challenge was being hosted in Calgary in 2011 and qualified referees were needed.

“I was fortunate to get the gold medal game in that event and then got an email a month later asking if I wanted to go to Norway for a tournament and I jumped on it,” Webinger recalls. “It’s been 11 years now, being able to do some awesome events with all these wonderful guys.”

In general terms, Webinger says para hockey is mostly the same as stand-up, save for the teeing penalty (for running the front of your sled into the side of an opponent). Where things change are the referee’s ‘rules’ of where to stand to best observe the play.

“We’re always taught to stay away from the play, to get on the other side of the ice to get the best angles,” Webinger explains. “But in para hockey, you have to be on top of the play because they’re jabbing each other and they’re really good at hiding the puck with their bodies.”

This will be the second Games for Webinger and despite the obvious challenges this year presents, he is looking forward to being on the ice in Beijing.

“The first one, you’re just excited to be there, you don’t remember a lot of things because you’re so focused on the games,” Webinger says. “This one might be a little bit easier to kind of sit back and enjoy it a little bit more.”



Matt Fergenbaum (Linesperson)

Hometown: Thornhill, Ont.

About six years ago, Fergenbaum faced the difficult decision of having to either leave his busy work in insurance to pursue officiating full time or cut back on his time wearing the stripes. He went with work, thinking that was probably the end for officiating international events, when a surprising phone call just a few months later led to his first para hockey experience.

“Looking back on it, there were three of us very capable officials with strong résumés of able-bodied hockey, joining the para ice hockey world and kind of not knowing what the heck we were doing,” Fergenbaum laughs.

Looking back now, the linesperson says the best game he’s ever been a part of was at his first Paralympics – the bronze medal matchup between Czechia and South Korea.

“There were more fans there for that game than the Canada versus U.S. game which was the gold medal after that,” Fergenbaum says. “And the [gold medal game] still wasn’t as loud as the bronze medal game when Korea won on home ice.

“It was incredible.”

There is no doubt these Games will be different without fans for more than just the players, but Fergenbaum says he is excited to see the players and other officials for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

“We’re such a close-knit community that each of us go down with a bag of extra souvenirs and presents for our fellow officials and some of their kids,” Fergenbaum says with a smile. “I think we’re all going to be happy when we’re there safe and sound.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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