Congratulations to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Sergeant and OVA Regional Referee - Level 3 Ivan Karin who was recently appointed as the CAF Chief Official for the sport of Volleyball. In this role, Karin will serve as the liaison between the CAF Sports Office and governing bodies to assist in the development of grassroot, regional, national and the International Military Sports Council (CISM) level programs and to assist with rules and regulations. An integral piece to the CAF Volleyball program, Karin will also lead referee recruitment and retention efforts and ensuring that all referees are properly trained and ready for competition.
“Throughout the year my job would be to make sure everyone is up to date with protocols and receive the proper briefings, in addition to being hands-on with the regional and National Championships for the CAF,” Karin says of his position. “Just as importantly; however, I will need to work towards opportunities for referees to get involved locally in their off-time; not just refereeing for military events but for tournaments and events in their community and provincial association or leagues.”
Karin succeeds Captain S.G. Stuart of Nova Scotia, who stepped down after being appointed in 2018. The Northeast Ontario resident, currently stationed in the state of Georgia, U.S.A., had this role just on the outstretch of his peripherals but increasing involvement in the sport made for an opportune time to enter the conversation, striking when the iron is hot.
“I considered it but up until recently I was heavily involved in refereeing through various leagues in Ottawa and playing competitively in leagues, with the National team, so it occupied most of time,” he said. “It was always on the backburner – something I would consider down the road and this seemed like a good time to put in my name. Five or six people forwarded me the announcement that Cpt. Stuart was stepping down, so they were kind of hoping that I would throw my name in the hat.”
The process to be elected as Chief Official operates much like most positions; an application is to be filled out, completed with a cover letter, list of accomplishments and interviews follow suit. The Chief Official is a four-year role, with the option of running again for re-election after the first term.
Karin joined the Canadian military in 2000, serving with the Governor General’s Foot Guard in Ottawa for fours years followed by two years in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment. He joined the Regular force in 2006. An avid volleyball athlete since 1996, Karin has played on various regional and provincial teams during his years in high school, with the Royal Military College and with the CAF Men’s National Team team where he travelled extensively and received numerous awards. Among his accomplishments within the CAF Volleyball program include three CISM World Military Games appearances, seven CISM World Volleyball Championships and gold and silver medal finishes at CISM regional competitions. Karin has competed at 11 CAF National Volleyball Championships, bringing home a total of eight gold and two silver medals. On top of these accolades, he is an eight-time all-star and three-time tournament MVP. In 2018 at the CAF Sports Awards Ceremony, Karin was inducted into the CAF Sports Honour Roll – the second-highest honour in the CAF Sports Award program.
His refereeing career didn’t start until 2011 when he met his wife, fellow referee and OVA Region 6 Regional Referee Chair, Irena Zamboni.
Karin (top row, third from left) at a significant assignment
“It didn’t take much convincing to start refereeing,” Karin says with a laugh.
Since donning the whistle, Karin has refereed at the Ontario Championships and in significant assignments in Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan and Toronto.
“Some days he says I think you’re more excited about this than I am!” Zamboni jokes. “Overall it’s good. I’m especially excited for Ontario, and Region 6, to work with Ivan. We have a lot of military members and we move around a lot, so that will be the tricky part when making sure that we keep track of them.”
When he returns to Canada, Karin will pursue his referee level four certification.
“Wherever they send us, whether it’s Ottawa or Kingston I will be pursuing that next level once everything gets back to normal.”
Thank you, Ivan for your service for your country and congratulations on this great honour with the CAF.