Vancouver, BC, February 14, 2012 (ISN) – The British Columbia Hockey League is pleased to announce that for the first time in league history, referees and linesmen will be recognized at the end of the season for their contributions to the game.

BCHL alumni and current NHL officials Kelly Sutherland and Brad Lazarowich have had awards created in their name for the top referee and linesman respectively. It’s an initiative spearheaded by Derek Adams, the league’s director of officiating.

“The awards were created to bring some recognition to our on-ice officials in the BCHL who strive to be the best they can be both on and off the ice,” said Adams. “Kelly and Brad got their start in officiating in the BCHL and have gone on to set a very high standard for officials both on and off the ice, but also in giving back to the development of officiating in British Columbia.”

The Kelly Sutherland Award winner and the Brad Lazarowich Award winner will each receive $500, of which $250 will be donated to a charity of choice in the name of the official. The winners will be chosen at the end of the season and the selection process will involve input from Adams, BC Hockey Supervisors and the BCHL board of governors.

“The awards are an example of the support the BCHL governors provide to our officials and to our officiating program,” said Adams. “I’d like to thank our governors for this support as well as Kelly and Brad for lending their names to make these awards more meaningful and for providing an example of what an official should strive to accomplish.”