2020 Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Roller Hockey Award Winner - Justin "Juice" WalkerApril 22nd, 2020 at 11:00AM April 22nd, 2020 6:33PM
The 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Roller Hockey Award winner for the SCHL is Justin "Juice" Walker. Justin started his collegiate roller hockey journey in 1998-99 as a forward at the University of North Texas. His team won 2 SCHL regional championships and were runners up once. Juice, as most folks know him, played with an edge, a power forward who made the defense pay for the privilege of guarding their own goal. Juice earned respect for his hard work and his ever-present smile, amplified by his multicolored mouthpiece that was visible across the floor. While playing for UNT Juice was a presence at Hat Trick Hockey in Denton, TX. He was a referee, cleaning person, coach, and anything else the rink needed him to be when he was available. His love for the game meant that when his collegiate playing days were over his commitment had just begun.
When Juice became a referee for the league, he instantly became a favorite of players. His style would be considered a players’ referee. He would let players “play the game” while maintaining control and communication. His reputation and knowledge of the game allowed him to establish himself as a referee that knows how players want to compete. After 6 seasons as a referee Juice became the SCHL’s Referee-in- Chief before the 2008-09 season. Juice embraced the role and used his time at several National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championship events to expand his understanding of what it took to be a high-level official. Juice brought back knowledge and motivation to transform the referee corps of the SCHL. During Juice’s time as Referee-in-Chief the SCHL saw the most consistent officiating at the highest level that it ever had. Juice identified graduating players with the tools to become great officials and worked with them to keep the officiating pipeline full of top tier talent. Juice became a resource for tournament series' and other rinks in the southwest when top talent was needed for events.
After almost two decades of involvement in collegiate roller hockey Juice stepped down from his role as Referee-in- Chief leaving behind a legacy and standard that the SCHL works to maintain to this day. Referees at the local rinks still use many of the lessons they learned from Juice to teach the next generation of officials on how to raise their expectations for themselves and truly understand how to officiate at a high level. Juice maintains a presence at the rink in Denton and is still fun to play with or against. "He’s one of a kind and I can honestly say that I’ve never met a person that doesn’t like Juice," said SCHL League Director Jerid Nemergut. People looked forward to seeing him at Nationals as much as he looked forward to going and though he’s not as involved in collegiate roller hockey as he was, the imprint he left is unmistakable and we’re excited and honored to present him with this award. Few are more deserving.