Brian Stuart from the Yukon is the Official of the Year with Table Tennis CANADA. Living and breathing all the trades that the award recognizes, an individual’s dedication to leadership, officiating and promotion of fair play and ethical behaviour in sport. 

Everything officiating in the Yukon is Brian. He has also participated regularly in the Canadian Championships, representing not just the Yukon, but all Territories. It was a busy year for Brian in 2022, helping and supporting the growth of officiating in his neighbouring Territory, the NWT. Preparing and getting officials ready for the 2023 Arctic Winter Games and the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Even more, Brian was the Referee for the 2023 Arctic Winter Games, helping the sports lead and the hosting committee to deliver one of the best Table Tennis events at the Arctic Winter Games. 

What do you like about Table Tennis?

 

My experiences with officiating Table Tennis started in 2005 as Whitehorse began its preparation for the 2007 Canada Winter Games.  I had never thought about continuing developing as an official, I just liked the idea of being able to volunteer and be part of the Games; all that changed during the Games.  We had a whole bunch of officials from all over Canada descend on Whitehorse for a week of competition.  The comradery, the love of the game and the desire to help develop more officials set the love of the game in me and started my journey to where I am at today.  Many of the officials who were at these Games are still around today and I get to meet up with, tell stories and learn from them at every event and tournament I have been to since.

I enjoy officiating the younger athletes the most.  Their energy and love for the game makes me appreciate being at the table to officiate them. I love watching kids who, with a few pointers from and official’s perspective, improve their game over a single week of a tournament.  Then getting to see the same individuals year after year, being able to play better and better and even represent Canada at international events.

The best part though, are all the friendships I have made with my fellow officials, tournament organizers and Table Tennis Canada staff.  We are such a small group of people that are more than willing to help whenever possible at any time.  Being able to randomly send an email to ask for guidance, to being a member of the Umpires and Referees Committee, truly enjoy working with you all!

How do you feel about being recognized for this award?

 Absolutely Surprised!

What does it mean to you to receive this award? 

That I may actually be doing okay at officiating! Now, like all those who have supported me, I too have to help to train and develop all my fellow developing officials.

Anything else you like to share with the Table Tennis world in Canada? 

I could not have got to where I am without the support of Table Tennis Yukon (Dave Stockdale and Kevin Murphy, the pillars in our community here in the Yukon) and Table Tennis Canada (For graciously inviting me to events all over Canada, even though I am so far away from everywhere!).  Also, a big thank you to each and everyone of my fellow officials who have taken the time to share a story of your own officiating successes and failures to help develop and improve me!

Thank you everyone and see you beside the table!

Thank you very much for your continues dedication to Table Tennis in Canada and growth of officiating in the northern parts of Canada. Congratulations in receiving the 2023 Official of the Year Award!!!