The BCHL stakes its reputation on developing players and giving them the chance to play at the game’s highest level but the same is also true of officials.
One of the star pupils of the BCHL’s officiating program in recent seasons before moving on to higher levels was Bevan Mills and he got to realize a dream Tuesday, working his first NHL game – a Montreal Canadiens-Anaheim Ducks contest in Southern California.
Working with veteran officials Gord Dwyer, Brad Watson and Brian Murphy, Mills handled the lines as the Ducks topped the Habs 2-1.
The Surrey, B.C. native was the recipient of the Brad Lazarowich Award as the BCHL’s top linesman in the 2012-13 season and his success at higher levels is no surprise to BCHL director of officiating Derek Adams.
“Very early on in my tenure, he was already a top-notch official and really came into his own when Brad Lazarowich joined us,” said Adams, alluding to Lazarowich’s role with the BCHL which began in 2012. “The first thing I think of with Bevan is the way he approached the game; he was always very respectful. He obviously had a real strong upbringing; he’s just a quality guy that worked hard but more than anything, he was just the most professional kid you could imagine.
“He was always someone you could trust in big games.”
Mills, 28, began his BCHL officiating career in 2004 and spent much of the next 10 seasons working BCHL and WHL games. He worked numerous Fred Page Cup BCHL Finals, worked in two Memorial Cups for the CHL and in 2015, he was asked by Hockey Canada to work the World Junior Championships in Toronto and Montreal as well as the World Championships A Pool in the Czech Republic.
The remainder of this season will likely see Mills work half his assignments in the NHL and half in the AHL.