If you’ve interacted with DTE Energy Regional Planning Supervisor Steve Kamidoi during his three-plus decades with the company, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed his dedication and commitment to leading by example – but you may not know these traits extend well beyond his day job in St. Clair County. In addition to his leadership role at DTE, Kamidoi is also a respected ice hockey official who was named referee of the year by the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) earlier this year.
Sports have been part of Kamidoi’s life for as long as he can remember. The Fort Gratiot resident and die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan grew up playing football and pond hockey, and he later coached varsity football at Capac High School for six years; he’s also covered sports for the Times Herald in Port Huron. Kamidoi made the decision to start officiating hockey games when his son, Kyle, first laced up his skates about 25 years ago; he estimates he’s officiated more than 8,000 games since.
Throughout his career(s), Kamidoi has remained focused on finding new ways to leverage his officiating and coaching experience to make our company better, and vice versa. It’s been a purposeful evolution that’s empowered him to enjoy success and learn from adversity.
“Over the years, I’ve used experience I gained while coaching and officiating to refine my leadership style here at DTE,” said Kamidoi. “It’s important that leaders put their team members in roles and situations that allow them to do their best work, and to grow and thrive. In hockey terms, not everyone is – or needs to be – a sniper who wants the puck when the game is on the line. Playmakers are just as important, as are grinders who are willing to get their noses dirty and won’t stop digging until the job is done – no matter how difficult it may be.”
While Kamidoi doesn’t officiate 400 games per year like he used to, he’s taken on increased responsibility as a mentor and teacher to other officials. He spends more time supervising and evaluating, and teaching officiating seminars across Michigan. Kamidoi also develops state-level curriculum to ensure officials of all ages and experience levels have the knowledge and situational experience needed to improve their collective ability to call games that showcase our state’s hockey talent. He also promotes fair competition and player safety in a game that continues to get more competitive and never stops evolving.
“As an official, you try to stay out of the limelight, but that’s not always possible,” said Kamidoi. “It’s not always easy to raise your arm (and call a penalty) because doing so will make some people in the building unhappy. But it’s about being fair, knowing what you stand for and being confident in your training and knowledge; this is a mindset that translates to the professional world as well.”
Interested in becoming an ice hockey official?
One of Kamidoi’s passions is introducing prospective officials to the job he loves. He said the colleagues, players and coaches he interacts with make officiating special, and he’s met great friends across the state. And while the being paid to be on the ice is an added benefit, he cautions prospects who are considering becoming officials that they must love the job and the respect the responsibility that comes with it.
Up to the challenge? Click here for more information about the USA Hockey Officiating program.