Jay Sharrers is getting a lot of love from Hope recently.
The Hope local, who is the first Black NHL referee, visited the Silver Chalice Pub to gift its owner, Dave Mawhinney, one of his referee jerseys.
“I was sitting at my desk, at work, and I have my girl come up and she says, ‘a fella by the name of Jay is here to see you.’ And I walk out and there’s Jay sitting at the bar,” says Mawhinney. “I didn’t recognize him at first cause he had his toque on. And he puts his hand out and says, “hey, Jay Sharrers.” And it’s like, oh my gosh! And then he hands me his jersey and says, “I was not able to get you one of the newer jerseys because I’ve given them all away. But this is my second year in the NHL jersey. It doesn’t have a number on it. And it was just like, wow, it was so cool.”
Mawhinney and Sharrers both attended Hope Secondary School. When Mawhinney worked as scorekeeper, Sharrers worked as a hockey referee patrolling the ice for the Men’s Recreational Hockey League at the Hope Recreation Centre.
Mawhinney says that, because he’s proud of Sharrers, he’d always wanted to get his jersey to hang up at the Silver Chalice. However, Mawhinney didn’t know Sharrers social media — which made contacting him difficult. Eventually, Mawhinney reached out to Black Press’s Larry Krause, who also works with BC Hockey, to see about purchasing Sharrers jersey. Instead, Krause contacted Sharrers and asked if he might be willing to help Mawhinney out.
After catching up with Sharrers, Mawhinney asked if he could take a picture with him which Sharrers agreed to. The Silver Chalice owner then posted it onto Facebook and it quickly went viral.
“It went absolutely crazy,” says Mawhinney. “I never realized that Jay doesn’t have any social media of any sort. And then all the local people, the people that me and Jay grew up with, they all started reaching out to me through the post to say hi to Jay. And so the next day — he actually showed up again the next day, because he came up again to visit his mom…I was able to go through all the Facebook posts and he was able to see all the outpouring of love from everybody in [Hope] and that really touched him quite a bit. It was a really cool experience.”
Sharrers started his NHL career in 1990 at the age of 22 when he stepped onto the ice to officiate the Bruins vs. Quebec Nordiques game at the Boston Garden. He had worked as an official for 27 years when he retired in 2017. He officiated nearly 2,000 games in the NHL’s regular season, and worked the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013. He also worked as a lineman for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
He now runs the Jay Sharrers Officiating School, which is a three-day camp that helps young officials in their hockey journey.