Chet Stewart Award

The Chet Stewart Award

In June of 2000, USA Hockey established an award to recognize the achievement of a grassroots officiating volunteer. The Officiating Education Program presents the award each year at the President's Awards banquet during the USA Hockey Annual Congress. The Chet Stewart Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the officiating education program during many years of service as an official and volunteer. The recipient will have been a grassroots leader in officiating education and development and provided dedicated service throughout his/her career to both the officiating and hockey community.

The Southeastern District is proud to be the home of six Chet Stewart Award recipients including the very first award winner, Ken Sheeran. The Southeastern District Chet Stewart awardees are listed below.

2016 Pat Bush, Raleigh, NC

A tireless promoter of USA Hockey's Officiating Program, Pat Bush has been instrumental in the growth of grassroots officiating development, particularly in North Carolina and the Southeastern District.

When Bush started his service with USA Hockey in 1990, there were only a handful of officials in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he quickly became involved in strengthening the base of local officials. He was a catalyst in forming the local officials association in Raleigh, providing a vehicle for growth and development. He served as president of the organization for many years, and still maintains a strong presence within the association.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, native started attending instructors' camps in 1996, but was involved in the seminar process long before that. When the idea to hold a district officiating seminar in Raleigh came up, there were concerns about whether the North Carolina market could fill an entire weekend seminar. Bush worked to ensure the seminar was filled, handled logistical elements of the event, and even personally drove around to pick up younger officials so they could attend.

Bush continues to work with young officials to ensure they have proper instruction and evaluation as well as opportunities for continued growth. He has set up a mentoring program, and also started a mini seminar series about officiating education. The presentations, which last from one to three hours, take place throughout the season and exemplify Bush's dedication to mentoring young officials in the North Carolina community.

2013 Kevin Upton, Silver Spring, MD

Kevin Upton has been associated with USA Hockey for more than 35 years as a coach, administrator, on-ice official and supervisor throughout Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area.

As an administrator in the 1970s, Upton established the Hampton Roads Youth Hockey Association, was a co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Youth Hockey League and organized the first local officials association in Virginia. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he concentrated on officiating and was eventually elected president of the Southeastern Hockey Officials Association in 1989. Several of his programs and policies are still in effect today.

Upton worked as an on-ice official for numerous USA Hockey district and regional championships and has been a supervisor of officials for six national championships. He is noted for implementing a culture of integrity and accountability among officials that resonates from his career in the military, from which he retired a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army.

2011 Robert Keltie Sr., Boca Raton, FL

While his hockey background extends back to his days as a youth player and includes a collegiate career at Colby College, Bob Keltie, Sr., is best known for his impact on officiating in states not often thought of as hockey hotbeds: Texas and Florida.

After graduating from Colby in 1959 as one of the nation's top scorers, Bob was invited to try out for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. Though he didn't make the final squad, he remained passionate about the sport of hockey.

In 1974, Bob added a different kind of uniform to his hockey bag after realizing that the officiating program in Houston needed help. He passed the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States (AHAUS, now USA Hockey) certification test the following year and, by 1976, had assumed leadership of Houston's officiating program. Bob organized the first-ever officiating certification seminar in Houston that year.

Ten years later, Bob relocated to South Florida, where he was the only certified official in the area at the time. As he had in Houston, Bob built South Florida's local officiating program from the ground up, establishing scheduling, payment, and disciplinary standards while organizing the region's first certification seminar in 1988.

By 1992, Bob had become the referee-in-chief of the Florida Youth Hockey League, Florida's first statewide youth travel league. From 1990-2002, he participated in and supervised district and statewide tournaments and, in 1995, he helped organize South Florida's first formal officials association. In addition, Bob has served as an off-ice official for the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers since the team's inception in 1993.

Since 2007, Bob has served as the assistant state supervisor of officials for Southeast Florida and continues to organize, travel to, and teach officiating seminars in all corners of Florida. He enjoys evaluating new officials and watching their progress.

2009 John Robinson, Towson, MD

John Robinson has contributed to the growth and success of hockey in the U.S. as an on-ice official for more than 35 years.

Robinson, a native of Needham, Mass., has officiated games in Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and Colorado. He worked as the Referee-In-Chief for USA Hockey's Southeastern District from 1987-94. During that time, John served as a camp director at several USA Hockey Officiating Development Camps, including the first women's camp.

As part of the Officials National Training Program, John led numerous Instructor Training Camps in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Marquette, Mich. In addition to his role as USA Hockey's National Risk Manager from 1995-96, he was also president of the National Ice Hockey Officials Association.

After playing high school hockey at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., and spending time playing at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., John began his officiating career in 1973 in Dallas, Texas.

In addition to his on-ice work, John has been a video goal judge for the National Hockey League for the past 16 years in Washington D.C., and one year in Denver, Colo. Currently, he works as the treasurer for the Southeastern District Officiating Program and is a supervisor for the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Officials Association in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

2008 Robert Klein, Roswell, GA

Bob Klein's contributions to officiating and officiating education are numerous. He has donned the stripes for nearly 40 years, having officiated games starting at the mite level up through college. Bob has also had several stints as a referee-in-chief, association administrator and coach.

Klein is known for his commitment to working with and developing referees of all ages and skill levels. He spends much time at the rink evaluating other officials and working games as needed.

While working at a local rink in 1968, Bob was asked to fill in for some absent officials for an adult league game. Sometime after that, he was approached to continue as an official and has been doing so ever since.

After moving to Kansas City, Kan., Bob continued his officiating career and became referee-in-chief for Kansas City. He also attended one of the first instructor seminars in Marquette, Mich., in 1985. Since then, Bob has been conducting seminars and clinics, and also ran the Polar Bear Hockey League in Kansas City, in which his daughter, Rachel, played.

After eight years living and working in Kansas City, Bob and his family moved to Atlanta in 1988. He became the referee-in-chief for Junior B hockey as well as the American Collegiate Hockey Association, the governing body for collegiate club hockey. He also became president of the Georgia Amateur Hockey Association and served in that role for two years. In 2007, he became Georgia's State Supervisor of Officials for the SE District Officiating Program.

2000 Ken Sheeran, Roanoke, VA

Ken Sheeran's 34-year involvement in youth hockey has been characterized by an unmatched generosity in support of the Valley Youth Hockey Association in Roanoke, Va. Both as an official and the founder of the league, Ken has been a driving force behind the continued growth of the sport in a non-traditional hockey area.

During his 21 years as a USA Hockey-registered referee, Ken has never accepted a game fee for any of the innumerable youth games he has officiated. Instead, he has always given the money back to the Valley Youth Hockey Association.

At the professional level, he has served as an off-ice official for the Roanoke Valley Rebels of the Southern Hockey League, the Virginia Lancers of the Atlantic Coast Hockey League and, most recently, the Roanoke Express of the East Coast Hockey League. He was also the Coordinator of Officials for the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival in Greensboro, N.C. Again, donating his fees each time, Ken even has persuaded many of his fellow officials to do the same.

A deserving recipient of the inaugural Chet Stewart Award, Ken Sheeran has exemplified the ideal official both through his charity as well as his on-ice excellence.