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The City Journals

Nordfelt Recognized for Distinguished Service

Mar 10, 2016 12:07PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Greg James | [email protected]

West Valley - The Utah High School Activities Association recently presented its list of honorees for its 2016 Distinguished Service Awards. West Valley resident Dennis Nordfelt was recognized as the male official of the year.

“It is nice to be recognized. I got a call from a school administrator a few months ago, and he told me they were going to nominate me. It is a nice award. I guess if you do it long enough they run out of deserving winners so it had to be me. It is certainly a good recognition,” Nordfelt said.

He has been refereeing girls and boys high school basketball games for 23 years. He began doing varsity contests in 1997, and in the last eight years he has started to officiate boys and girls varsity soccer games. 

He began his career as an official shortly after his high school graduation, at the urging of some friends he worked with at Winder Dairy.

“I came home from my mission and saw an ad in the paper. I enjoy it a lot. It keeps me in shape and gives us [my family] a little extra money that we use for vacations. I end up with usually two games a week,” Nordfelt said.

The referees are assigned by a coordinator. Nordfelt is able to block out the days and teams he would rather not work with.

“I usually block Hunter games, because I know so many people in the area. On a varsity level I cannot think of a coach or team that I would be disappointed having them on my schedule. I know many of the coaches by name, but that does not mean they do not yell or question a few things,” he said. “Many of the coaches recognize we are professionals and trying to do a good job.”

In his career he has refereed games with the UHSAA, the Scenic West Conference (Snow, Salt Lake Community College and Utah State Eastern) and a few Division 2 (Dixie State) games.

“I have seen some great plays. A couple of years ago I was doing a Pleasant Grove and Lone Peak game. Both teams were undefeated and in the top five. One stretch of about five plays in a row were full of incredible shots, one after another. I was running down the court as the lead official and I wanted to cheer,” Nordfelt said.

Once a year the UHSAA recognizes outstanding educators, coaches, officials and individuals who have made significant contributions to high school activities. The Distinguished Service Award began in 1987 to honor individuals for their service and contributions. Each recipient was chosen because of the standards of excellence they exemplify through their service, professional responsibilities, leadership and sportsmanship.

“I really have an affinity for high school activities not just sports -- all activities. I see the blessing it was in my life as a kid and I know it makes a difference in these kids’ lives. I could never get rich refereeing, but I enjoy another opportunity to associate with pretty good kids, young men and women,” Nordfelt said.