If the NHL dream doesn’t materialize, Hefner’s goal is to eventually become the main referee in the DEL. This begs the question: pursue the whole thing as a hobby or turn it into a career? “There are only six or seven referees employed by the league in Germany. If the money is right – that is, if I earn more than X amount in my work and Y amount in my hobby – I’m definitely open,” the 25-year-old explains. “On the other hand, I would have been out of work for a long time. Can I come in easily then?”
Two-season Steelers pro
Hefner started ice hockey in 2005 at the age of eight. Through the youth program at SC Bietigheim-Bissingen, he progressed to the Steelers. But he dislocated his shoulder in the DNL’s 12th game of the season in his first season with the pros. “I was at my best then, scoring over 30 points in eleven games,” the center recalled. “But I was really there. In two years I sat on the bench for three games in DEL2, but there was no change. “Until the pre-season, he held the bat in Bietigheimer 1b.
But time for leading games took more and more space. But why become impartial? “For one thing, I wanted to be a different kind of referee to players than a lot of people. I’ve always been a very objective person,” says Hefner. On the other hand, I go to Collmar in France in the summer with friends to play ice hockey because there is an ice rink there all year round. I didn’t want to go in that direction, they approached me because they were referees.”
Promotion to DEL in two years
In September 2018, Hefner refereed his first U13 game. He got up quickly. “There were no half measures, I wanted to go above and beyond,” reports Bietigheimer. In the first year, Hefner was able to join the training program of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB). “The focus is on training referees for DEL on weekends or extra video meetings,” he explains.
Already in the 2019/20 season he refereed games in DEL2. In January 2021 he made his debut in the German House of Lords. He also played in the U20 B World Championship in Oslo, Norway.
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