Graham Waters has been an iconic fixture in Canadian squash for many years – we’re told he even beat Jonathan Power…when he was 8 – but most know him not for his playing years but for his decades of expertise, energy and devotion to the game from behind the glass, as a world-class referee.
After more than 30 years as one of only twenty active WSF referees and one of only eleven active WSF assessors, Graham announced his retirement as a WSF referee and assessor last week.
Graham was one of the first five referees to ever be named an International Referee. Andrew Shelley, Chief Executive of the World Squash Federation spoke to Graham’s impact internationally, “Graham is a big man. Large in both stature and contribution to refereeing; not just in Canada but very much on the international stage. He became a WSF Referee thirty years ago, refereed pretty much every top player in pinnacle matches such as World Championship finals – and always with calm authority that reassured even the most volatile of player. Such was the esteem that he was held in that in addition to assessing and mentoring, Graham spent many years managing the WSF Referees Committee.” Shelley concluded, “There are so many referees who owe Graham a lot for the part he played in their development via words of advice, or simply watching him at work. All of squash will want to thank Graham for such wonderful and extended service to refereeing, and wish him a long and travel-filled retirement!”
Graham has been unwavering in his dedication and love of the game. In addition to his refereeing, Graham has been a true advocate of officials’ development, spending many hours assessing and mentoring officials both nation and worldwide. Back home in Canada, Graham’s contribution to the sport and the Canadian officiating program are numerous and influential, with years spent as a member of Squash Canada’s Officiating Committee, a member of the Board of Directors and refereeing at many national championships.
Lolly Gillen, President of Squash Canada’s Board of Directors, reflected on Graham’s impact on Canadian squash, by saying “Graham’s 30-year journey has been incredible and Squash Canada has been immensely proud of the position he has held on the world stage and within the officiating community. We will always be tremendously grateful for his contributions to our officiating program; he was unfailing in the class and honour he brought to officiating globally.” She could think of no better way to express everyone’s thoughts but with three simple words, “Thank you Graham.”
Graham, in his official notice of retirement said “I have had the very good fortune to referee with, and learn from, some great referees from all corners of the globe, most of who have become good friends. It was always fun to reconnect when we got together at tour events; I will miss those reunions most. It has been my privilege to have refereed virtually every great player that has ever played this game. I will miss it terribly, but I will treasure it forever. I send my best wishes to the remaining WSF Referees and hope that the game can attract some younger people to become referees at the top level of our terrific sport.”
Although “retiring” from refereeing, Graham will remain keenly interested in squash at the provincial, national, regional, and world levels and will continue to be one of Squash Canada’s greatest resources. Graham will officiate at one final event; one that hits home, both literally and figuratively, when he takes his seat in the central chair of the 2016 Bluenose Classic – an event that takes place in his hometown of Halifax, NS.