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Colin Davidson has been appointed as Ice Hockey UK’s new Referee-in-Chief to replace the outgoing Simon Kirkham.

Davidson has been involved in hockey for over 45 years from playing to officiating prior to taking up a management role with Scottish Ice Hockey and more recently the IHUK Referee Section.

Kirkham has been part of the sport on and off the ice for the past 35 years at both national and international level – and felt the time was right to take a step away to peruse other interests.

Clifton Wrottesley, Chair of Ice Hockey UK, said: “On behalf of IHUK, I’d like to thank Simon for his dedication to the role.

“Simon stepped in again at a pivotal point for the Referee’s Section as we emerged from the pandemic and the resignation of the previous Referee-in-Chief. He has done a fantastic job in steadying the ship.

“Numbers of officials in the section are beginning to rise again after a significant drop post-pandemic and Simon has been instrumental in putting in place measures to mitigate this fall, as well as begin to rebuild the numbers we need.

“Simon is one of the most experienced officials in this country and his knowledge and expertise has been crucial for hundreds of officials over the past decade and more.

“Colin is a superb appointment and will bring a wealth of experience from his previous roles in the sport on and off the ice.

“He is well respected across UK ice hockey and his knowledge and enthusiasm will be huge to drive our officials in the coming years.”

Davidson said: “I have worked closely with Simon and would like to thank him personally for driving the officiating programme in his many years in the role.

“I’m looking forward to taking up the new position having been involved within the management team since 2017 and am well acquainted with what the role entails.

“I truly believe we have a fantastic officiating programme and have the support of a great management team and the Ice Hockey UK board to help drive this forward.

“We are currently working with all the associations and the IIHF with their promotional campaign ‘Officially Cool’ to help drive awareness, interest and greater understanding of the roles of officials.

“I believe it’s important we have a clear pathway for officials at the start of their journey up to Elite League ice hockey and international recognition with IIHF assignments. It’s key we support the growth of the number of officials and to support the transition of players to officials too.”