Boston University coach Jack Parker noticed the name on the line chart and wondered if the Jean-Yves Roy listed as a linesman was the same one who was a three-time All-American at the University of Maine.
“It was funny. Between periods, I skated toward the BU bench. He told me he saw my name and wasn’t sure if it was me. Then, after watching me skate, he said he knew it was me,” chuckled Roy.
If you’re a University of Maine hockey fan, you won’t see Roy working Black Bear games. The league has a rule against referees or linesmen working their alma mater’s games, according to Roy.
But you will see him working the lines for games involving other Hockey East teams and he would like to get the opportunity to referee.
“It’s all up to Dick DeCaprio,” said Roy, referring to the Hockey East supervisor of officials.
He is already refereeing games in a variety of other leagues like the ECAC, Atlantic Hockey and the Eastern Junior Hockey League. In fact, he either referees or serves as a linesman two or three times a week during the season.
So what kind of referee is the 41-year-old Roy?
“I’m more of an old school guy. I let the guys dictate how the game is going to be called. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt at first. If they play clean, I’ll call it that way and let them play. If they act up, I’ll tighten up the screws and won’t let anything get by,” said Roy.
Roy began officiating when he was 16 back home in Rosemere, Quebec.
When he came to Maine, he put the whistle away. He signed with the New York Rangers after three seasons at Maine in which he amassed 108 goals and 95 assists. He still holds the career goal-scoring record.
A 14-year pro career took him all over North America and Europe. He wound up playing in 61 NHL games and had 12 goals and 16 assists.
After retiring, he contacted Gene Binda, Atlantic Hockey officials supervisor, about officiating and impressed him.
He prefers refereeing to being a linesman.
“When you’re a referee, you’re part of the game. You’re so much more involved in the game,” said Roy, who also enjoys the two-referees, two-linesmen system put in place in college hockey this past season.
“At first, I wasn’t crazy about it,” said Roy. “But once you know what to do positionally and how to work it, it’s great,” said Roy. “If they ever went back to a one-referee [two-linesmen] system, I’d feel like I would be missing a lot of stuff behind the play [as the referee].”
Referees and linesmen certainly take their share of abuse, but Roy said, “I think I’m a little deaf. I don’t hear them. If it reaches a point where I hear the coach or a player, they’re going to get a penalty because they would have to be real loud if I hear them.”
He is thick-skinned and will let players and coaches vent within reason.
“But don’t throw your arms up in the air or make a scene [or a penalty is forthcoming],” he said.
He enjoys his officiating work “because it keeps me involved in the game.”
Roy and his wife, Heather (North), whom he met at Maine, are living in her hometown of Marshfield, Mass., with their daughters Dominique (11 years old) and Gabrielle (8).
They own and manage 20 apartment units.
He returned to Orono to play against the Bruins Alumni two weeks ago.
“Going back up there was awesome. It brought back a lot of memories,” he said.
He created a lot of memories.