These days, the only people Walnut Grove’s Jeff Ingram referees are his kids, son Landon, 3, and daughter Adelyn, 1.
“They don’t talk back as much,” Ingram chuckled.
His season came to an “abrupt” end in March when the coronovirus outbreak forced the WHL to cancel the playoffs.
Since then, Ingram has been keeping busy with his mortgage business while keeping an eye on his son and daughter at home.
Being self-employed affords him a degree of flexibility that comes in handy during the WHL season, he said.
“It’s allowed me to travel and work on the road,” Ingram told the Langley Advance Times.
He was also full of praise for his wife Blythe, who holds down the fort at home when he is away.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) May 5, 2020
On Tuesday, May 5th, Ingram was named the recipient of the Allen Paradice memorial trophy (WHL Official of the Year).
“I was kind of surprised,” Ingram said.
Ingram, who first officiated in the WHL during the 2007-08 WHL season, recently completed his 11th season as a referee in the WHL.
He has taken the ice for 606 WHL regular season games and 94 WHL playoff games.
Since 2015, Ingram has been an integral part of the officiating crew for five straight WHL Championship Series.
He also refereed at the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer, Alta. and 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, Sask.
Ingram has refereed three other national championships, including the U SPORTS men’s hockey championship in 2012.
Internationally, he has represented Canada as part of the officiating crew at several international tournaments, including the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota and the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.
In addition to his many years of service in the WHL, Paradice has refereed a number of large events in Canadian Major Junior hockey, including the 1977 Memorial Cup in Vancouver. During the 1980s, Paradice served as the WHL’s Director of Officiating.
In the Allen Paradice memorial trophy announcement, Ingram was credited for having a”special approach to officiating, emphasizing positive and respectful interactions with players as well as head coaches throughout the league. “
Over the years, Ingram said, he has learned not to take the heat personally when he is on the ice, that the ire is directed at his uniform, not him.
It’s advice he passes on to novices in the profession.
“The toughest part for young officials starting out an early age is the pressure they get and the abuse they take,” Ingram said.