When Trent Knorr, at 18, was a linesman in his first pro ECHL game at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, one of the players leaned over and quipped: "You look about as old as my son."
Knorr then began working the Western Hockey League regularly in 2006-07, made it to line the 2010 Memorial Cup, and is now on contract as a referee in the pro American Hockey League.
"I'll see how I progress under NHL eyes," he said.
Don't bet against him. He's only 26 and has already worked his way up from the WHL to the ECHL to the AHL.
Knorr came from Powell River at age 16 to play Junior B hockey with the Victoria Cougars of the Island Junior B League.
"I enjoyed officiating more," he said, making the leap to the striped shirt first as a linesman in Junior A and now as a rookie referee in the pros.
Knorr's big break came when legendary retired NHL referee Bryan Lewis, then director of referees for the ECHL, asked around about good young officiating prospects during a visit to the Island for a Salmon Kings game.
It was recommended he take a look a Knorr, so Lewis came down to watch Knorr work a midget game at Archie Browning Sports Centre.
"I had no idea he was there," said Knorr.
"My first reaction [when Lewis came down to the dressing room after the midget game to talk to him] was, 'Are you kidding me? You want me to do what [work an ECHL game]?' That was pretty cool."
From there the rise has pretty much been meteoric as Knorr perhaps lays his claim to eventually inherit
Saunders hungry to help Mariners even more the mantle held by previous NHL refs from the Island such as Rob Shick of Port Alberni and the late Lloyd Gilmour of Nanaimo.
"I admired Rob's work a lot and have been fortunate enough to get some advice from him," said Knorr.
TRADING PLACES: It wasn't a bad WHL trade personally over the weekend for 19-year-old forward Nathan Burns, who has gone from a Vancouver Giants team that will struggle to make the playoffs to a Saskatoon Blades club that is assured of going to the 2013 Memorial Cup as host. Burns was dealt by the Giants for Travis McEvoy and two bantam draft picks.
RED STATE, BLUE STATE: The Victoria Royals have a league-high six Americans on the roster, for whom today's presidential election should be of especially keen interest. Ben Walker, Jack Walker and Logan Nelson hail from blue state Minnesota, Taylor Crunk from blue state California, Austin Carroll from red state Arizona and Brandon Fushimi from toss-up Colorado.
Jack Walker, Crunk and Fushimi are too young to vote, while Carroll was raised in Scottsdale of Canadian parents. For 19-year-olds Ben Walker and Nelson, this will be the first presidential election in which they are eligible to vote.
FUTURES: Five players from the Royals' increasingly promising 2012 bantam draft class made the podium over the weekend at the Western Canadian Under-16 Challenge Cup in Calgary. Forward Tyler Soy, blue-liner Chaz Reddekopp and goaltender Markus Daly were golden with the victorious B.C. team, while forwards Matthew Campese and Regan Nagy were bronzed with third-place Saskatchewan. Reddekopp was named a tournament all-star.
POW: That's the trendy acronym now used by leagues to denote Player of the Week. The WHL's is Justin Feser, who had five goals, eight points and a plus-7 rating for the Tri-City Americans in three games. That's the kind of production any team needs from a 20-year-old. WHL teams are only allowed to carry three 20s.
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