Maj John Sullivan earns a spot on the CAF Sports Honour Roll

2013 Sr Men's Cdn Semi Final Plate

Photo: Submitted

Maj Sullivan

Maj Sullivan will be inducted into the CAF Sports Honour Roll for his work officiating fast-pitch and hockey at elite levels.
Photo: Submitted

Jeff Gaye

It’s official (pun intended) – Maj John Sullivan of 4 Air Reserve Flight will be inducted into the CAF Sports Honour Roll in October for his work as a referee and umpire.

Maj Sullivan began officiating hockey and fast-pitch when he stopped playing, and quickly rose to high levels in both sports. He reffed Junior B hockey, and qualified as a Level 5 elite fast-pitch umpire. He worked as an official in military and civilian sports until 2015, serving as referee-in Chief at regional hockey championships, Referee-in-Chief for hockey in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Umpire-in-Chief for Newfoundland and Labrador fast-pitch.

He says consistency is the key to success as an official. “That’s the big thing players want. Whether it’s an ice hockey referee, or the umpire behind the plate in the fast-pitch World Championships, what they’re asking for is consistency.”

“If you’re going to call a hook in the first period of a hockey game, you better be calling it in the third. If you’re calling a pitch just off the plate a ball in the first inning, they want you to be calling that again in bottom of the seventh when the game is on the line,” he said.

And of course it helps to have a thick skin. “You need to keep composed,” Maj Sullivan said. “In Junior hockey where the players are 20 years old, the most problems you have there are with some hotheads. But when you’re dealing with men’s fast-pitch at Canadian championships or internationally with ISC [the International Softball Congress], you’re dealing with high-level quality players who are playing for their countries, and you need to have a thick skin. Plus you need to be able to stay composed. It gets pretty tense out there,” he said.

While Maj Sullivan has officiated high-level competitions in civilian sports, he says his involvement with military sports has given him the opportunity to excel.

“I wouldn’t have got there without the support of the military,” he said.

Maj Sullivan will be officially inducted into the Honour Roll at a ceremony in Ottawa October 20. He says he’s happy to have been selected.

“I’ve seen some of the names on there, and I’m honoured to be selected with those guys,” he said.