Between the Lines

 Passionate. Driven. Charismatic, fair, honest and hard working. All the qualities that are required to be an effective athlete and official. 

Matt Hicks has worked his way up the officiating ladder his entire life. 

Hockey dreams are hockey dreams, they aren’t always black and white. 

From the small print on the bottom of box scores, to being berated from the stands, young officials often feel the brunt of the hockey community while logging hundreds of hours on the ice. 

Becoming an referee isn’t easy. 

Unappreciated and often forgotten, a referee’s and linesman’s impact on the game is truly immeasurable. 

Hicks, like so many other young officials cut their teeth in the game locally for countless years. 

Game after game, year after year, working toward their goals, dreams and aspirations. 

There’s on the job training and then there’s becoming an official. 

Learning on the job comes with the territory; it’s part of the process. 

Learning how to manage the game, themselves and dealing with hockey’s yelling culture is often crippling for any young official. 

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

Perseverance, resiliency, courage and self-confidence are an officials strongest allies. 

Those vital characteristics are always learned the hard way.

Nothing comes easy when you are wearing the stripes. 

The stress and pressure of the job is often shared within the refereeing fraternity, but when it’s all said and done those wearing the stripes stand alone. 

Matt Hicks has been patrolling the lines at various levels of the game for close to fifteen years. 

For the last nine years Hicks has called the QMJHL home. 

Hicks has shared the ice with some amazing players over that time, but there’s one thing you can always count on when #58 is on the lines, communication. 

Hicks is known across the league for his vocal ability. 

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

A matter of fact you have probably heard him talking from any seat in the old Coliseum or now at the Avenir Centre. 

#58 talks. 

#58 talks a lot, I mean he’s always talking, and those that know him best would say he never shuts up.

Nevertheless, his outgoing vocal personality is often misunderstood as being cocky or cavalier, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

When you wear the stripes perception is your greatest enemy.

Hicks’ passion and love for the game is unparalleled. 

The 29-year-old wears his heart on his sleeve. 

That’s what makes tonight’s QMJHL game between the Moncton Wildcats and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies so special. 

Matt Hicks will be skating in his 300th QMJHL game. 

Passionate. Driven. Charismatic, fair, honest and hard working, that’s Matt Hicks. 

That’s Mr. 300.

One comment

  1. You didn’t mention the time in Charlottetown when he pulled the sign up through the ice and they had to cancel the game? Bahahahahaha!!! Great kid!!! I’ve seen him help younger refs as well throughout the greater Moncton area.


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