International Hockey

Berezowski’s officiating dream comes true with newborn by her side

2023 iwd jenn berezowski

With a full-time job, being a full-time master’s student and officiating for the WHL on his plate, Kyle Kowalski is a busy man, but he wouldn’t want it any other way

Working a full-time job while officiating can be a tricky balancing act.
But what if you also add in being a full-time master’s student into the

Edmonton, Alta., native Kyle Kowalski is a commercial banker by day and is
in the middle of completing a master of business administration degree
online on top of officiating with the Western Hockey League (WHL). How does
he do it?

“I got to be honest, I don’t know how I balance it,” he says with a

Although Kowalski didn’t get his start in officiating until he was about 24
years old, he had knowledge about the responsibilities of the position from
a family connection.

“My father was an official [with] Hockey Alberta,” he says. “I would follow
him along to the hockey games and I would go watch the game that he’d be
reffing. But I was always of the mindset of playing. I never ever
envisioned this occurring.”

After he was finished playing junior hockey in the Manitoba Junior Hockey
League and Alberta Junior Hockey League, Kowalski took an opportunity to
start his officiating journey while attending Grant MacEwan University so
he could stay connected to the sport he loves.

“I wanted to stay involved in the game and it was just a way for me to get
back into hockey,” he says. “It’s the greatest game on earth. Let’s be
honest, it’s the best… You give back and it’d give you so much more than
what you could ever expect.”

In his early days in stripes, he got a lot of advice from a veteran in
officiating: his father.

“He would come watch and he would say, ‘try this, do this. Maybe give this
a try. Hey, this happened, maybe try this,’” the 36-year-old says. “He was
a big influence early on to get me going.”

Kowalski initially started officiating out of the south-east zone in
Edmonton, then worked his way into the WHL from there. Although he already
was balancing a full-time job with officiating, when the COVID-19 pandemic
began, he saw it as an opportunity to continue to develop personally and
professionally by returning to school.

“Continuous improvement on the ice as an official is extremely important,
however continuous improvement off the ice is extremely important as well,”
he says. “Pursing that MBA has equipped me with a range of tools that
assist me…

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