Thirty-five years racing around on the ice is a long time for any athlete, especially for a referee. “It’s time,” said Clint Clifton after the last game of the PeeWee tournament held on the weekend. “My body is tired and sore and it’s telling me it’s time.”
The weekend tournament had some highs and lows for Princeton Minor Hockey. On a high note, the PeeWee team that has been struggling to find a place in the Rep League had two big breakthroughs. On Saturday, they got their first point, tying against Westside. Then, Sunday morning another breakthrough. The local PeeWee team got their first win of the season.
Like any week any hockey though, there are always a few highlights, some good memories and a few moments that stick in the minds of hockey parents, kids and coaches. Sunday afternoon was one of those moments. Clint Clifton announced that he is hanging up his skates and black and white striped referee jersey, but not without some sadness.
“This community and this association has been good to me,” said Clifton. “I have had the best seat in the house down here on the ice for game after game. I am definitely going to miss it.”
“Clint will be missed,” stated Princeton and District Minor Hockey vice president Stephen Yee. “He has been here for us when we have needed him. He is a good ref and he has mentored a lot of our young linesmen and referees. He is leaving behind a legacy in our young officials.”
Clint has no idea just how many games he has officiated over the years, but has often been seen on ice for 7 or 8 games during a tournament weekend. “Its a lot,” Clifton said, “but on the same hand I really enjoy it.” Clifton has officiated over some great young talent like the U-16 Female try-outs and also some international games. “I hope I have been a role model for my reffing to some of these younger officials,” said Clifton “and it doesn’t mean I won’t still help out with reffing clinics now and again, but I just need to slow down a bit. It’s time. I have stayed this long because I love hockey and that love is still there. I think watching it from the sidelines a bit more is in order though.”
Princeton Minor Hockey thanks Clint for his years of on ice dedication. Thank-you Clint and good luck with your future endeavours.