For hockey linesmen Chad and Cody Huesby, it’s just another day at the rink.
But for the Western Hockey League, it’s one for the record books.
When the Red Deer Rebels take to the ice at the Enmax Centrium this Saturday night against Prince Albert, it will mark the first time that twin brothers will work the lines together in a WHL game.
“I’ve asked around, and out of everyone I’ve talked to, it’s the first time it’s happened in league history,” said Chad, who calls Sylvan Lake home.
“It’s a pretty special opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s always great lacing them up with Cody. It seems, for the most part, that we seem to know where each other is on the ice. I don’t know if it’s a telepathic twin thing, but it’s always great working with him and it always makes for a fun night.”
For Chad, this is his first year working the lines in the WHL, and he says it’s taken a lot of hard work to get here.
“I’ve been at it for 13 years now,” said Chad, who also officiates Alberta Junior Hockey League and Chinook Hockey League contests.
“Just working my way through the Hockey Canada system, and obviously the Western Hockey League has been a dream and a goal of mine. Just aspiring to get to that next level.”
After the WHL, the next level would be the minor leagues or the National Hockey League, but Chad says right now, he’s just focusing on his first year in major junior.
“That’s always the goal,” said Chad when asked if he had his eye on an NHL job in the future.
“The WHL is great with the relationships they have with other leagues, whether it be the National League or the American Hockey League, and they’re always pushing us to get to that next level. But it’s just like playing. There are 72 officials on staff in the NHL right now, and there are over 5000 registered officials in Canada. The odds of making it to the NHL as an official are just about as steep as a player.”
For many young Central Albertans, picking up a whistle and donning the stripes isn’t the most desirable job, given it’s the zebras who take all the flak from fans and coaches alike when they don’t get the call they want.
But for Chad, he knew exactly what he was getting into when he signed up to be a linesman.
“We don’t have the luxury that referees do, when they make the call and skate away,” Chad pointed out.
“But I think at this level, coaches are pretty smart, and they understand that it wasn’t necessarily your call. We try and have good working relationships with the guys, especially in the Western League.”
And while both Chad and Cody may have some sibling rivalry between them off the ice, its business as usual once they pull on the stripes.
“I think he thinks it great,” laughed Chad when asked if his brother may try and beat him to a few calls.
“He got hired by the WHL last year, so he’s already had a season in the league, but I know he’s really looking forward to the 16th, and being able to lace up the skates and have two Huesbys out there. Anytime I’ve talked to him, I know he’s really excited. We’ll have a lot of family and friends at the game, and I’m looking forward to a great night.”