B-ball official recognized

Meadow Lake referee Kaitlin Harman recently won the Most Outstanding Official Award for 2015 from NWHSAA.

Meadow Lake referee Kaitlin Harman recently won the Most Outstanding Official Award for 2015 from NWHSAA.

by Phil Ambroziak

When it comes to maintaining law and order on the basketball court, Meadow Lake’s Kaitlin Harman is ranked among the best.

Recently, Harman – who has refereed basketball at both the high school and junior high levels for the past four years – was presented with the North West High Schools Athletic Association (NWHSAA) 2015 Most Outstanding Official Award. The honour, which Harman said took her by complete surprise, was bestowed at the Northwest School Division office in Meadow Lake late last month.

“It was totally unexpected,” Harman explained. “I knew I had been nominated, but didn’t expect to win. I’m really pleased, however, because I feel I had a very strong year.”

In addition to her regular refereeing duties, Harman also led coaching clinics. For the first time in her career, she also had an opportunity to referee a game at Hoopla, the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association’s (SHSAA) provincial basketball tournament which was contested in Saskatoon March 27 and 28.

“That was such an awesome experience,” Harman noted. “I’d been to Hoopla as a player, so it was nice to be a part of the other side of that weekend. Hoopla was such a great opportunity for officials because we were evaluated on each game we refereed. It was a true learning experience.”

More recently, Harman took part in a refereeing camp held in Edmonton.

“It’s run by some incredibly talented officials – some of the best in Canada,” she said.

Harman, who grew up in Meadow Lake, said she originally decided to become a basketball official as a way of staying involved in the sport she loved playing in her youth.

“I’ve always loved basketball,” she said. “I’ve also dabbled in coaching, but this is a way I can be involved with it on more of a full-time sort of basis. I also really enjoy watching the high school and junior high school athletes as they develop their skills.”

Among those to share in Harman’s excitement over the Outstanding Officials Award is Kendra Paramchuk. She serves on the coaching staff for the boys basketball team at Carpenter High School.

“Kaitlin deserves to be recognized for the amount of time she invests in refereeing, as well as travelling all across the Northwest just to help out at the number of schools she does,” Paramchuk said.

In terms of Harman’s refereeing ability, Paramchuk said games are always called down the middle.

“She’s very consistent – she calls it both ways,” she added. “She also educates the players too by explaining to them why she makes the calls she makes. The NWHSAA truly appreciates everything she puts into the sport. It’s people like Kaitlin who are much needed and appreciated.”

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