Jon Raslawski has been involved with USA Hockey/AHAUS (Amateur Hockey Association of the United States – now USA Hockey) since 1970. He started his skating career at the late age of 8, on figure skates at the Rainbow Ice Arena in Chicago. His Father, the late Ted Raslawski, soon realized that he was not meant for figure skates, and made the investment in hockey equipment and lessons with Harry Sator (IHHF 2008) at the Michael Kirby Ice Studio in Park Ridge. Although Jon lived in Chicago, the trips and the experiences were well worth it. Moving to Park Ridge in 1974 significantly increased his opportunities to play hockey. Jon’s hockey playing career was unremarkable, playing for the Park Ridge Hornets, Lane Technical High School, Maine South High School, and the Illinois Institute of Technology Hockey Club (yes, they did have a team). Jon also coached a number of house league teams with the Park Ridge Hornets. In 1977, Jon became an AHAUS Approved referee. His first game was a Park Ridge Hornets house league game with Dan Sullivan (IHHF 2004). It was the most frightening and exhilarating experience of his life at that time, and started a career, a passion, a love, and a new appreciation for the wonderful sport of ice hockey.
An official needs to work a lot of games at various levels to gain experience. Jon was provided that opportunity, working house league and men’s league games throughout the Chicago area. During that time he had the good fortune of learning from some of the best officials in Illinois, including Joseph Prescott (IHHF 2007) and Phil Lovecchio (IHHF 2007). Having gained experience and a quality reputation, Jon began to work travel team and High School games under the watchful eye and guidance of Don Jan (IHHF 2006), Don Olynyk (IHHF 2006), and Ken Michel (IHHF 2006), ultimately being selected to work numerous tournaments, “AAA” Hockey games, Illinois State Championships, the PeeWee National Championship, and the Illinois High School Championships at both the Chicago Stadium and the United Center where his wife, Valerie Glowinski, sang the National Anthem, one of the proudest and most emotional moments of his officiating career. Jon was selected to attend the US Hockey Region Officials’ Camp in 1985, a milestone in his officiating career.
In 1986, Jon was invited to become a member of NIHOA, the local college officiating chapter, where he worked Midwest colleges and the University of Illinois at Champaign games. It was a thrill and an honor to officiate in front of larger crowds where the games had major significance. He officiated games in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota at the NCAA Division I (CCHA), II (NCHL), and III (NCHL) levels, “negotiating” with coaches like Val Belmonte (IHHF 2005) and Tony Fritz (IHHF 2005).
Jon also had the opportunity to officiate in the USA Hockey Junior League both at the Illinois and USHL levels. He had the advantage of working with some of the best officials from Illinois, including Jay Jacobs (IHHF 2010), Andy McElman (IHHF 2010), Scott Brand (IHHF 2012), Paul Ciancanelli (IHHF 2012), Al Stensland (IHHF 2011), and Scott Zelkin (IHHF 2011).
One of Jon’s more challenging officiating experiences was refereeing the NHL Chicago Blackhawks training camp games in 1989. The players were huge, exceptional skaters, talented individuals, and all looking to secure a spot on the NHL team. Breaking up two fights was the thrill of a lifetime.
However, officiating is not exclusive to on-ice experience and performance. Jon was elected to the IHOA Board of Directors and served for eight years. During that time, he was responsible for the “Little Brother/Big Brother” program, the precursor to the Mentoring Program, where young referees are teamed with older, more experienced officials.
Jon was involved with the IHOA Seminar program as both an assistant instructor and a certified instructor. Jon’s primary career in computer software sales for IBM provides him the opportunity to hone his skills as a compelling presenter, so it was natural to leverage those skills in creating and presenting instructional content for IHOA officials at the required beginning-of-the year seminars. Jon became a USA Hockey Certified Instructor in 1992. Although a major eye injury incurred at an Illinois High School game on Thanksgiving 2003 derailed his on-ice career, he continues to teach at USA Hockey seminars, passing on to younger generations his knowledge and love of the game.
Jon resides in Arlington Heights with his wife, Valerie Glowinski, and their two children, Adam and Sabina.
Categories: Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame