Vernon's Tom Kowal

Vernon's Tom Kowal

Vernon’s Tom Kowal to referee Kraft Hockeyville game

Vernon’s Tom Kowal will referee the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings Kraft Hockeyville exhibition game Sunday night.

Vernon’s Tom Kowal will referee the Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings Kraft Hockeyville exhibition game Sunday night at Kal Tire Place.

Kowal, a 48-year-old father of three born and raised in Vernon, has been an NHL official since the 1999–2000 season. He lives in High River, Alta.

Kowal, who wears No. 32, will work alongside Kyle Reghman of Red Deer.

“Three of the officials are from B.C.,” noted Jasmine Ghafour of the NHL.

Lonnie Cameron, of Victoria, and Kiel Murchison, of Vancouver, are the linesmen for the 6 p.m. start.

Kowal played minor hockey in Vernon and later helped his late father Ernie, coach an Atom team one year. Ernie was a co-owner of the BCJHL Vernon Essos for several years. His brother-in-law, the late Vern Dye, founded the Vernon franchise. Tom’s first cousin, the late Wayne Dye, was Vernon’s Athlete of the Century after being drafted by both the NHL and Major League Baseball.

“I asked the league if I could bring some guys from the West so it’s going to be pretty exciting,” said Kowal. “I watched a few Junior games at the new rink when Dave (his nephew Robinson) was with the (BCHL) Vipers. I imagine the town is pretty excited.”

Kowal and the other officials will conduct a refereeing clinic Saturday at Pat Duke Memorial Arena in Lumby.

“We did one a few years ago with Kyle in Sylvan Lake (Alberta) and Lonnie’s done one in Victoria so I really wanted to do one in Lumby,” said Kowal, who turns 49 in early November. “We’ll buy the kids pizza and make sure they have a good time.”

Kowal and his family will spend an hour with the Stanley Cup sometime Saturday. He is watching his Grade 12 son, Troy, play Tier 4 high school football in High River tonight. Troy is a 6-foot-6, 245-pound lineman.

Regular-season rules are in effect so a four-on-four, five-minute overtime and shootout, if required, will occur if the teams are tied after regulation.

The Oilers are the home team. Ghafour said it is Edmonton’s decision whether they insert superstar Connor McDavid in their lineup.

The Kings will hold a game-day skate from 9:30-10:15 a.m., followed by the Oilers from 10:30-11:15. Tickets are required.

Red-carpet arrivals by the Kings, at 7:30 a.m., and the Oilers, at 8:30, are open to the public.

The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet across the nation.