If you’ve spent any time over the past 54 years in a Northern Ontario hockey rink, chances are Tim Foster was officiating a game on the ice.

“So it all started in Cochrane,” he tells My Cochrane Now Dot Com.  It’s his home town.  In 1968, needing to improve his skating, he took referee-in-chief Jack Cotgrave up on an offer to skate with the Tykes. The 64-year-old retired OPP’s officer last game this past Saturday was also with the little guys.

Achieving his Level 6 – the highest for a referee in Canada – Foster spent ten years as an on-ice official for the OHL, retiring from that 25 years ago.

“I love the game and I wanted to continue to give back and the best way to give back is to teach kids on the ice, teach the younger officials on the ice,” he says.

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That will continue, but from the stands, wearing gloves. Foster says his hands are forever cold from officiating without gloves.

He began refereeing 14 years before joining the OPP.  He says becoming a police officer made him realize that hockey is just a game.

“When you’re refereeing the game of life, it makes a big difference,” Foster muses. “And once you’ve done that, it makes the game of hockey so calm.”

A lot of police officers become referees.  Foster believes it’s because they want to be involved in the community, other than enforcing the laws.

There’s a lot more from Tim Foster, in this audio link of our interview from his home near North Bay: