Canada Basketball would like to take a moment to acknowledge yesterday's first National Officials Day in Canada by thanking the many dedicated officials and referees who tirelessly work to support the game of basketball. Competitions run year-round and without the hard work of these individuals, the game would not be where it is today.

Officials and referees play an integral role in the growth and development of sports. It is through the cooperation and teamwork between officials, referees, coaches and players that helps strengthen Canada as a nation of basketball.

Below is a statement by the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sports), on the occasion of the First Nataional Officials Day.

"Today marks the first National Officials Day in Canada. This is a special day that recognizes the contribution of the hundreds of thousands of officials, referees, umpires and judges in our sport system who play a vital role in making sport safe and fair for all participants.

Sports Officials Canada has designated April 17 as National Official Day in Canada, and this year the theme is "Respect the Official." I join Sports Officials Canada in inviting Canadians to take time to acknowledge their efforts and the tremendous impact these people have on the games we love.

I wish to personally thank the men and women who officiate our sports in Canada for their dedication and for their passion. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I commend the initiative of Sports Officials Canada for making this a special day for more than 900,000 Canadians who perform officiating duties each year."