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'The intensity is going to be there': Brothers prepare to ref Hoopla basketball championship in Prince Albert


As high school basketball teams from across the province prepare to hit the court this weekend for Hoopla, three of the refs are prepared to make history on the hardwood because they are brothers, and it will be a first for the games.

Being out here on the basketball court is nothing new for three brothers originally from Moose Jaw, but what is new is that the three of them will be heading to Hoopla this weekend as referees.

“This is the first time three brothers have ever been to Hoopla as officials. There’s been brothers before, one and two, but never been a set of three officials,” Michael Holzer told CTV News.

Michael Holzer is the oldest brother and has refereed this tournament for six years while middle brother Daniel has done it three times, but this year will be the first time for youngest brother Stephen.

“Everyone’s emotions are going to be much higher, and the intensity is going to be there and we just gotta do what we do and call the game,” Stephen Holzer told CTV News.

While they don’t know if they’ll be tasked with officiating the same game at the same time, they are prepared for the reaction if they do.

“I already know if they announce two Holzers in one game the room of officials will start speaking up and making jokes about it,” Stephen said.

All three brothers have played in the Hoopla event as students, so they know it well and are prepared for the intensity.

“My family is always supportive. I always ask them questions post-game questions and they ask me questions. We also have a conversation with our dad in Moose Jaw too who got us into reffing,” Stephen Holzer said.

To get to this level of refereeing, there are strict requirements and a vetting process including an annual test where they need to achieve at least 80 per cent.

With all that skill in one family, there are other bits of advice being shared with the rookie. One of those is to simply ensure the opening toss is done correctly.

“Make sure you can toss the ball at the start of the game. If you toss a ball to the side or too slow then you have to re-toss the ball. Sometimes people get the yips and they can’t throw it straight up,“ Daniel said.

They’ve been referees in basketball for more than 20 years combined and while their dad will be there to watch, as he’s one of ref evaluators for Hoopla, their mom will be at home waiting for updates.

“Mom is going to require a selfie for sure,” Daniel says.

The close proximity with the players' bench and fans makes officiating basketball so unique and part of the fun according to these refs.

“In basketball, you’ll have the coaches right in your ear as you’re looking and trying to officiate the game. You’ll have the fans that don’t think you’re doing a good job and they’ll start yelling at you.”

Hoopla runs Thursday to Saturday with 24 boys and 24 girls teams representing high schools from across the province, competing in Prince Albert, the host city for this year’s event. Top Stories

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