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October 12, 2021 – Winnipeg MB – Officials are vital to a thriving sport community. As we return to play, Sport Manitoba’s #NoRefNoGame campaign reinforces the fundamental need for officials – without referees, officials, and umpires, there are no games.

This year, #NoRefNoGame focuses on recruitment and encourages people to get trained to become an official and give back to the sport they love. Officiating is an excellent way for sport enthusiasts, former athletes and coaches to stay active and involved in a sport. 

“We cannot return to competition without thanking local officials for coming back, and for their pivotal role in allowing Manitobans to get back to the game,” said Janet McMahon, President & CEO, Sport Manitoba. “Being an official is a challenging job with a significant learning curve, and their responsibilities are critical to the integrity of the game. We are grateful for all our Manitoban officials and their contributions to sport! As we return to play, we hope to see new officials join our growing sport community.” 

Sport Manitoba partners with over 70 provincial sport organizations – all of which have a form of official. They’re referees, umpires, judges, timekeepers, commissaires, marshalls, and officers who uphold the rules and maintain the standards of play.

Officials are responsible for preserving the integrity of the game and important life skills are developed every single competition. Whether it’s getting to the game on time, making a decisive call, or working as part of a team, consistency is key. 

In addition to the recruitment of officials, #NoRefNoGame features personal stories from Manitoba officials who share what it’s like to be behind the call. Stories and links to our sport partners’ officials registration pages are available at

Sport Manitoba connects prospective officials to their provincial sport organizations for training, provides grants and scholarships for financial assistance, and advocates for the positive treatment of officials across Manitoba.

Led by priorities outlined in the Manitoba Action Plan for Sport (MAPS) and supported by Canada Games Legacy funding, Sport Manitoba hosted a workshop with over 60 sport officials in the fall of 2019. An outcome of the workshop was to support sport partners with the recruitment, training, retention, and mentoring of officials, and Sport Manitoba launched the #NoRefNoGame campaign. 

Media Availability

Along with Janet McMahon, Sport Manitoba’s President and CEO, we can also arrange interviews with Manitoba officials from a variety of sports and backgrounds. 
Please arrange interviews with Sarah Tone,, or 431-778-5796.

About Sport Manitoba
Sport Manitoba is a not-for-profit organization and the lead planning, programming and funding agency for the development of amateur sport in Manitoba. Located at 145 Pacific Avenue in Winnipeg, Sport Manitoba partners with over 100 organizations to deliver sport in the province and is responsible for programs including the Manitoba Games powered by Manitoba Hydro, Sport Manitoba Coaching, Team Manitoba, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, Fit Kids Healthy Kids, and KidSport. Services provided include the Sport Manitoba Clinic, Sport Manitoba Performance, Sport Manitoba Fitness Centre, and the Paul Robson Resource Centre for Leadership and Coaching.  -30-
For more information please contact:
Sarah Tone
Communications Coordinator
Sport Manitoba
Cell: 431-778-5796