At the 2019 New Zealand Hockey Awards Ryan Potter (Counties Manukau) and Brooke Johnson (Tauranga) were named the Most Promising Umpires of the Year.
Brooke had a great 2018 where she umpired in the Midlands Intercity Club Competition and the Vantage National U21 Tournament where she was appointed to the final of that tournament. Ryan himself had a fantastic 2018 season where he was appointed to the Vantage National U21 Final as well as umpiring the Senior Tournament Final as well. We spoke with them both at the recently completed 2019 Vantage National Tournament.
Hockey New Zealand’s Technical Manager Colin French commented on the two “Not only did Ryan & Brooke have some outstanding umpiring performances in 2018, but they also made strong contributions to their local club competitions and official’s community. Ryan & Brooke have a strong work ethic and a quiet confidence to achieve at the highest level; they have both come through the Hockey NZ domestic tournament pathway and are a testament to the coaching and development opportunities made available to them”.
Q – What do you hope to achieve through umpiring?
Ryan – My main goal that I want to achieve through umpiring is to get to an Olympic Games or Hockey World Cup. It would be awesome if I could achieve this goal within the next 10 years.
Brooke – I am hoping that I am going to be able to keep progressing through the different tournaments. I want to see how far I can take my umpiring as I build this experience.
Q – What role do you think that umpires play in facilitating a game?
Ryan – Umpires play a crucial role in facilitating a game of hockey. The allow the game to be safe and fair, they also help make the game a great spectacle for everyone that is watching and involved.
Brooke – The umpire has a vital role in a game, they are able to assist with the flow of the game and encourage good skillful hockey as well as keeping everyone safe on the field.
Q – What do you enjoy about umpiring?
Ryan – I enjoy all facets of umpiring including being on the turf as well as the social interactions that come from being involved. Interacting with a range of people from coaches to my other technical officials is rewarding and you learn a lot from.
Brooke – I love going to tournaments and the friendships that you make through officiating and going on tournaments. I also love the challenges, every game is different and brings its own set of challenges.
Q – What opportunities have you got from umpiring so far?
Ryan – I have had a significant number of opportunities; I have been able to travel throughout most of New Zealand and seen a lot of places you otherwise wouldn’t get an opportunity to go to. Umpiring has allowed me an opportunity to develop as a person on and off the field.
Brooke – I have been able to go to a lot of different tournaments; I have been to a number of age group tournaments through to open tournaments now. I have also had the opportunity to travel around and see a lot of New Zealand.
Q – What are some of the challenges you have found from umpiring?
Ryan – Probably the biggest challenge is staying up to date with all the new rules and minor changes that are constantly happening. Another challenge is understanding how to interact with different personalities and how they are going to receive those interactions both on and off the turf.
Brooke – Some games bring a lot more challenges than others, dealing with a lot of different situations, players, coaches. Different situations bring different challenges and having to think on the spot would be a big challenge.