Officials’ Category ~ Class of 2019
Randy was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved out to the western suburb of Schiller Park when he was very young. Little did Randy know that the building of the 294 Tollway in his backyard would be his introduction to ice skating; there was a small creek that ran alongside the ramp. Santa brought Randy a pair of hockey skates that Christmas. His dad laced the skates up, and Randy walked over to the creek; his ankles were bent almost to the ground when he got off the ice. Within a few weeks, he was almost able to skate. He knew skating was something he really wanted to do. A short time later, after being persistent, Randy was cruising down the creek, hockey stick in hand, chasing the ‘rubber biscuit’. He was hooked!
The Krawiec’s lived on a dead-end street, so whenever there was no ice, they made some nets and the street became their “Chicago Stadium”. Remember, back in those days there weren’t as many indoor ice rinks as today. The first time Randy got to skate indoors was at the Oakton Ice Arena in the early 70’s. Soon after he joined an actual hockey league in Franklin Park. A rink was constructed on the corner of Franklin Avenue and 25th Street where the Community Center now stands. He was able to play the inaugural season with the Franklin Park Jets before joining a men’s league team. A few years later the men’s league team disbanded, but Randy wanted to keep skating. So, putting on the ‘stripes’ seemed like the thing to do. That was a decision he has never regretted making.
Randy began officiating in the late 70’s. He stuck primarily to his home rink (Franklin Park) for the first couple years. He was fortunate to have some of the best mentors a young official could ask for. Leroy “HOF” Albrecht, Don “Chez” Cesario, and Harold “HJ” Johansen showed Randy what it takes to be a successful official.
Randy served a few terms on the Illinois Hockey Officials Association (IHOA) Board of Directors until work commitments got in the way and he had to step down. He still serves as the IHOA Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL) Representative. Over the years he has been honored to work various levels of “Our Game” – from mites to AAA midgets, Chicago Showcase to State Championships. There was never a game where he could say, “I didn’t give it my all.”.
Randy’s second biggest thrill as an official was back in 1997 when he received a call from the NHL and was offered a position as an off-ice official here in Chicago as a video goal judge for the NHL (where he enjoys the “best seat in the Madhouse”). He has since expanded his involvement during games by taking on the role of Arena Technical Coordinator for the League. Randy says this was, “My second biggest thrill, because nothing can ever top the call I received to inform me I was being inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame as an Official.”
Randy notes that the honor of being recognized by his peers and the hockey community is something very special and humbling. He would also like to congratulate all his fellow Inductees and extend a huge thank you to all his “brothers in stripes” who may not know it, but have in some way made this great honor possible.
NOTES: The IHHF Induction Dinner will be held in their honour on Sunday, January 26, 2020 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall located at 1170 West Devon Avenue in Elk Grove Village beginning at 5:00 pm. Tickets are available by contacting Norm Spiegel at (847) 269-2922 or email Norm at email@example.com.
Joining in honoring this special group of inductees will be several of the past inductees into the Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees, and all of the past inductees have demonstrated, through their actions over the years, their personal commitment in making a difference in the lives of thousands of Illinois youth and the Illinois hockey community.
The mission statement of the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame is as follows:
“To honor the excellence of those individuals who, through their exceptional endeavors both on and off the ice, have contributed in an extraordinary way to enhance the sport and image of hockey in Illinois.”
On behalf of everyone involved in the game of hockey, we admire and thank each of the inductees into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2019. They truly are in a class of their own.