Editor’s note: Long-time ECAC official Tim Kotyra decided to retire from officiating at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season. Kotyra finished his NCAA championship career in the national championship game in Tampa in 2012 and also refereed the 2004 title game in Boston (see picture below). The NCAA asked Tim to share his thoughts with other officials on retirement and reflect on his career.
For all these years I have not been able to imagine and frankly, dreaded the moment that has now come and gone. I never pictured a time that I would not be packing my referee’s bag for the weekend travels. But now, after 24 years in college hockey, that weekend has come and gone; and the time was right.
I began to think about retiring several years ago. Subtle signs were apparent. The old knees were letting me know that this was not getting any easier. I also began to look at the trip as a chore, where I used to start getting fired up on Wednesday thinking about the weekend ahead. The passion was starting to fade. My family also needed me more. The phone calls that would come at 4:45PM from one of my girls needing me dampened my pre-game spirits. After all these years of putting hockey first, I felt the pull stronger to be home. I knew I didn’t want to miss any more of my girl’s activities and my wife did not want to attend any more events alone.