CFL welcomes six new participants into Officiating Academy

TORONTO — The Canadian Football League is proud to announce the six new participants who will join the league’s Officiating Academy. The program – launched in 2022 with the support of the Canadian Professional Football Officials Association, the Canadian Football Officials Association, Football Canada and the CFL Players’ Association (CFLPA) – operates with a clear and collective focus: to help develop, train and support Canada’s pipeline of officials.

“The development of officials is synonymous with the development of the game,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “Amateur officials working in community recreational leagues help youth develop skills, creating a safe and competitive environment, and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

“Proper officiating at the college and junior levels hones players’ knowledge and skills. At the professional level, our officials do an incredible job of managing the game to ensure a fair, exciting and entertaining game inspires fans and viewers across the country. At every level, officials play a critical role. And it is our goal through the Officiating Academy to help more officials perform at the highest level.”

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“Skilled and trained officials allow our members to play exciting and safe CFL football,” added Brian Ramsay, Executive Director of the CFLPA. “These individuals are necessary for the game to exist, and the Officiating Academy is an excellent way to provide high-level training for officials across the country at every level. The program’s success is evident as we have now seen its members regularly on fields across Canada.”

The CFL Officiating Academy is a yearlong program that provides participants with the opportunity to work closely with league staff and officials to deepen their knowledge of officiating, while gaining the experience and skill development needed to progress at the amateur and professional levels.

Participants take part for a maximum of two years. The 2023 cohort will see four returnees continue their officiating journeys through the program. Two 2022 participants have been selected for CFL officiating crews this season – Eric Gyebi will be working the line judge position and Kyle Mikulik has earned a spot as an umpire. Those not selected to join the league’s officiating staff will join the country’s pipeline of active officials helping to oversee the game throughout the country.

This year’s program – beginning at CFL Officiating Training Camp from May 4-7 – includes virtual and in-person sessions to develop the technical aspects of officiating, such as mechanics, standards, fitness, administration and more. The academy also focuses on personal, emotional and mental well-being to prepare participants for the elation and challenges of a career in officiating.

As part of the program, participants may be assigned to a CFL pre-season game, Passing Showcases, CFL Training Camp scrimmages, or placement in support staff positions for CFL games or in the CFL Command Centre.

“We thank our participants for their dedication and passion for officiating and football,” noted Commissioner Ambrosie. “We hope this program is an educational, meaningful and invaluable experience as they continue to learn and grow with our great game.”

​(Name | Hometown | Local association | Officiating position | Program status)

  • Sharon Airey | Edmonton | Edmonton OA | Umpire | New
  • John Paul Chorney | Winnipeg | MFOA | Umpire | New
  • Hassan Cohen | Nanaimo, B.C. | BCFOA | Back judge | Returning
  • Dan Fleischhaker | Regina | Regina FOA | Side judge | New
  • Romeo Kabongo | Airdrie, Alta. | Edmonton OA | Line judge | Returning
  • Eric LeBlanc | Dieppe, N.B. | NBFOA | Line judge | New
  • Tim Louman-Gardiner | Vancouver | BCFOA | Line judge | New
  • Matt Spetter | Edmonton | Edmonton OA | Umpire | New
  • Anthony Williams | Dartmouth, N.S. | NSFOA | Side judge | Returning
  • Vincent Williams | Halifax | NSFOA | Line judge | Returning
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