The Hockey Ref Shop Official Of The Month is a monthly program that recognizes officials from across the world for the great work that they do!
Check out our interview with Samantha below:
Name: Samantha Cebulski
Home Town: West Chicago, IL
Current Town: Geneva, IL
Years of officiating experience: 4
What do you enjoy to do outside of officiating?
I also coach a peewee team and enjoy that. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and our dog, Gus.
When and why did you start officiating?
I actually never played growing up. I was a competitive figure skater for almost 20 years. I didn’t start playing until after I graduated college. My husband and dad started officiating a few years before I did. I was looking for a new challenge and my husband recommended that I start reffing. I was on the fence until I had a men’s league game one night where Erin Blair was one of the officials and she talked me into taking the all-girls Level 1 seminar. When I started officiating, I didn’t even understand what icing was!
What is your greatest memory or proudest moment as an official?
I have quite a few proud moments! The one that stands out the most is being selected as the Referee for the Girls High School State Game at the United Center this past year. I was also selected to attend instructors camp as well as Futures and have so many good memories from those opportunities.
You recently attended the USA Hockey Women’s Futures Camp, tell us a little bit about the camp and what a typical day looked like there.
The camp was an absolutely amazing experience. I met so many awesome officials from not only the United States but also Russia, Australia, and China. A typical day started before dawn with a good workout and a power skate. We had plenty of classroom sessions where we improved our knowledge of everything from nutrition and fitness, to more advanced mechanics of the 3-official system. Depending on the day, we would skate the U16/U17 girls games and get immediate feedback from our instructors.
What is your favorite memory from Futures Camp?
The most memorable thing for me was the hill run! Definitely not my favorite though! Other than that, I loved meeting so many strong female officials from all over and being able to hear their stories and experiences. The instructors we had were nothing short of incredible. The best part was getting home and finally have good food!
Do you have any superstitious pre-game rituals?
I actually don't! Out of habit, I put my left skate on first but I wouldn't say it's a superstition.
What are your long-term goals with officiating?
I’m enjoying the ride but my goal is to be certified IIHF and participate in at least 1 international tournament.
Why do you think others should try officiating?
I think others should trying officiating because it’s a challenge and a different perspective of the game. It’s a confidence booster and teaches many life lessons.
What advice would you give to a new official entering their first season?
Be confident and willing to learn from others. Recognize that officiating is a roller coaster. Everyone has great games and everyone has not-so-great games but it shows resilience to bounce back after a rough game. For young girls entering, do your best and show the boys - girls rule! :)
Any pro tips or words of wisdom that may help other officials improve their game?
Don’t get discouraged after a rough game. I’ve been there and I know how easy it is to get down on yourself. Ask questions, make friends, and most importantly – have fun!
How did you hear about Hockey Ref Shop?
It’s all Haley’s fault :)
Helmet/Visor: CCM Resistance/CCM Revision Pro Straight Short
Sweater: Force Pro Women's
Pants: Force - they were my dad's!
*Editors Note*: While she patiently waits for her Custom Steven's Pants that she ordered from us :)
Whistle: ACME Rose Gold
Shin Tights: IHOA
Skates: CCM Tacks 6092
Protective: Shin pads- no name but they're 20+ years old!
Elbow pads- Bauer Nexus
Is there anything else you would like to share with the community?
I am a Type 1 Diabetic so managing a chronic illness and working relatively high-level games can be quite the challenge at times but it definitely has taught me that you can’t let anything hold you back from your goals and aspirations!
Every month, officials are encouraged to apply for a chance to become "Official Of The Month". The Official Of The Month will be featured on our Referee's Crease blog and will also receive a free gift from Hockey Ref Shop.
If you would like to submit yourself or nominate a friend for the October Official Of The Month please send us a short email to HockeyRefShop@gmail.com on why you (or your friend) should be selected.