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  • Congratulating John Opoka on His Induction into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame

    by Representative Daniel Lipinski

    Posted on 2014-01-16

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    LIPINSKI of illinois in the house of representatives Thursday, January 16, 2014 Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor John Opoka who will be inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the 9th class of inductees on January 26, 2014. Mr. Opoka and his fellow inductees have demonstrated their personal commitment to the sport and the community by enhancing the lives of Illinois' young hockey players and contributing to the rich history of hockey in Illinois. I appreciate John's 34 years of service as an Illinois hockey official and would like to congratulate him on this special honor.

    After playing hockey in high school, John began to officiate games while in college. Thanks to the recommendation of a role model and fellow referee, Chet Stewart, John was chosen to officiate collegiate games at the age of 19. He spent nearly three decades leading the college chapter of Illinois hockey officials and also served as referee-in-chief for the Illinois-Wisconsin Collegiate Hockey League and the Central State Collegiate Hockey League. John led seminars on rule interpretation for the NCAA and helped to bring about essential changes to the NCAA's ice hockey rules.

    During his 34 years as an official, John has been committed to the betterment of hockey in Illinois. He served as Ethics Chairperson and Seminar Director while a member of the Illinois Hockey Officials Association (IHOA) Board of Directors. As IHOA's Seminar Director, John was the first to bring together officials from all levels for an exchange of ideas and best practices. In every game that he worked, whether it was a tournament, state playoff, or national championship, John served as an example of professionalism and commitment to excellence.

    John continues to serve his community, now acting as a leader of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in his hometown of New Lennox, Illinois. I look forward to John's continued involvement in Illinois hockey and know that he will serve as a role model to many of Illinois' young hockey players and officials.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing the tremendous accomplishments and contributions of Mr. John Opoka and to congratulate him for being inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame.


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