Henry (Harry) Greene

Portrait by Robert Howson

It takes a lot of miles and a lot of hockey games to become known as a great official. Harry Greene didn’t officiate at the Ontario Hockey Association’s Junior A level or the National Hockey League, but he became one of the most respected grassroots officials in the game for his calm demeanor and sense of fairness.

Greene’s officiating career spanned four decades, starting in 1959 and ending in 1988. He officiated everything from minor hockey games in the Royal City, to university contests and the Western Ontario Hockey League. Every time he stepped onto the ice even the coaches smiled because they knew the game would be called without prejudice.

“He was a very good official,” said fellow Guelph Sports Hall of Fame member Mel McPhee. “He never got flustered or excited and had a great sense of humour. One game we were in overtime and the situation was tense. He skated to me before a face-off and asked ‘what would you call if the puck hit the post so hard it split in two and one half went in the net and the other half didn’t?’ I said, I don’t know Harry, what would you call it? And he said ‘I’d call it a miracle!’ He just knew how to break the tension.”

But his greatest gift may have been the way he mentored young officials. Not all veteran stripers were as patient as he was. He had a way about him that made him approachable, pointing out mistakes in a quiet, humble way that encouraged confidence in the young apprentices.

Green was President of the Guelph Minor Hockey Association from 1956-1959 and was named an Honourary Life Member of the storied Guelph Hockey Referees Association in 1977. There are only 19 honoured members on that list including Guelph Sports Hall of Fame members Doug Brill, Bill Devorski, Bill Lindley, Lou Maschio, and Evo Parisotto.

Greene left his mark on the game through his fairness and the mentoring he patiently delivered to up-and-coming officials.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Official category – on May 17, 2017