Local hockey referee works Sochi Olympics

(WUSA) -- Think about one of your wildest dreams coming true, on an international stage.

That is reality for a Frederick County man.

The hockey fanatic is in Sochi right now, but he's won't playing for team USA, he's officiating at the Olympics!

Tommy George found out about his Olympic future right before officiating a Boston College-Notre Dame the day after Thanksgiving.

"I was getting ready to go on the ice," says George, "turned my phone on, checked my phone, texted my fiance one more time, saw an e-mail come through and said 'I think I might want to read this one.'"

That was the e-mail notifying the Frederick County man he'd been selected to officiate games during the Winter Olympics.

"Its pretty cool, it's quite an honor," says George.

To even be considered, Tommy had to go through an officiating camp.

He got his international license in 2010 and for the next three years ref'd international competitions.

Now he's one of only two Americans 'not' affiliated with the NHL who'll do the job in Sochi.

He said he couldn't have gotten there without the love and support from his fiance, family and friends.

"It's been neat to share the experience with them," says George. "So that's probably the thing I'm most excited about."

Tommy got his start at Skate Frederick, where he fell in love with the game of hockey.

"I love the game, I love the speed, I love being able to skate and just being on the ice," says George. "I think my parents can tell you a lot. It didn't matter how, but if there was a way I could get on the ice, I would. Which is how I started officiating, it was a way to make extra money and be on the ice and be here at the rink and that led me to Sochi. I've worked for 16 years as an official to do one of two things, work in the national hockey league, which may or may not happen. The other was to officiate in the Olympics"

Tommy hopes his Olympic dream leads to another.

"If I can inspire one more official or one more kid to play hockey or go out to officiate a game, then that's bigger than anything I'll ever do in my career," says George.

As of Monday, Tommy George has officiated two games so far during this Olympics. He worked Thursday's game between Austria and Finland, and again Saturday in a game between Latvia and Sweden.


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