Three officials from the UK were involved in the prestigious 28th Winter Universiade in Kazakhstan earlier this month.
The Winter Universiade in Almaty was a multi-sport winter event which saw student athletes from all over the world compete in 10 events.
Great Britain sent a women’s and men’s team to participate in the ice hockey, while Lorna Beresford, Stefan Hogarth and Chris Wells represented the UK as on-ice officials at the event.
Beresford said: “The experience was unreal. The amount of effort they put into the organising of the tournament was amazing. They built new facilities, ice rinks, accommodation and we were so well looked after.
“Getting to see the other events made the tournament extra special, as well as being able to go and support the male officials in their games.
“I can’t describe how amazing the whole tournament was. The games I got to skate were great. Some games gave me chance to learn new things, while other games were intense.
“I was fortunate to be picked to officiate the USA against Canada game which is a huge thing for anyone to skate.
“I thought this would’vd completed my tournament, but then my supervisor gave me the bronze-medal game. It was a great game, end to end, with USA taking bronze.”
Hogarth said: “The organisation and professional environment provided by the Kazakhstan people was probably what I was most blown away by.
“On a personal level, the event’s hundreds of volunteers catered for our every need. We couldn’t have been looked after any better.
“The infrastructure was also pretty special. For example, the men’s ice hockey arena was a purpose-built, state-of-the-art venue boasting two ice pads, full video review technology, gymnasiums and large changing rooms for all 12 teams and the officials, as well as seating for over 3,000 enthusiastic fans.
“All in all, it was an experience to remember. One that I feel honoured to have been selected to be a part of. I am very grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.”
Wells said: “This was my first international assignment outside of GB. I was impressed by how well organised the Winter Universiade was. The organisers had provided everything for us.
“One major thing that made my tournament was the selection of international officials. We had 18 officals working a four-man system. People from Canada, USA, Korea, Spain, Sweden Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia.
“I would like to say a big thank you to Ice Hockey UK for the experience and this has no doubt helped me in progressing my officating career.
“And, in particular, I’d like to thank Simon Kirkham for putting me forward for such a great tournament.”