There are only six weeks left in the current calendar year, but it is safe to say that Tarrington Wyonzek has never had a stretch like this before.
The 27-year-old product from the Yorkton area officiated at the World Under-18 championships in Sweden in April before calling Game 7 of the Western Hockey League final between the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants in early May. From there he went to Halifax to work at the 2019 Memorial Cup and during the summer he became a full-time professional official with his schedule to include games in both the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League.
“The hockey is real good; it’s a different pace,” says Wyonzek, who began the latest stage of his career in September when he was assigned to work at the prospect tournament held in Traverse City, Mich. “You are working with men every day so that is the biggest difference.”
Stationed out of Greenville, S.C., now, Wyonzek is a long way from where everything started.
As is the case with all officials the starting point is the grassroots level, but it wasn’t long before he was working games in the Prairie Junior Hockey League, Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference, Can U-Sports and Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, where two years ago he was named the top official for that league.
Wyonzek, however, gained invaluable experience working games in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for 11 years.
“It was a really good learning opportunity,” says Wyonzek, who lined games for the majority of the time in the SJHL, but did spend two seasons as a referee. “I had a really good relationship with Brad Howard (the referee-in-chief for the SJHL) and I enjoyed working with the coaches.”
For the past six seasons Wyonzek has also been working in the Western Hockey League in addition to getting his first taste of professional hockey when he saw duty at several Manitoba Moose games in Winnipeg.
Wyonzek, whose younger brother Tannum is following in his footsteps, says that having a goal is one thing, but there is so much more to have success at your chosen craft.
“You have to keep working hard and make sure you know the rules,” says Wyonzek. “Skating is real important so that you can always be in the right position.”
“The main thing is to have fun and enjoy it,” adds Wyonzek. “If you are not enjoying it you are doing it for the wrong reasons.”
Wyonzek is apparently enjoying it immensely and some day, likely sooner than later, he will reach that final goal of working in the National Hockey League. Hockey fans, Saskatchewan fans in particular, will be pulling for him and waiting for when that day arrives.