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"They can be very intense," Tyler Haslemore says, but "I love it".
Mr Haslemore, who graduates from the University of Otago today with a master of finance degree, with distinction, revels in the game and is working hard to further his career as an international ice hockey referee.
"When you've been out there for a while you know how to manage the risk and minimise it.
"I'm excited to get the recognition for completing the masters," Mr Seymour said of today's Dunedin Town Hall graduation ceremony.
"My family is coming from all around the world.
"It's a great honour to celebrate with the family."
Having recently dealt with a very high workload, including thesis work, and considerable earlier part-time work as an accounts officer, he looks forward to some more top refereeing.
"You just have to be able to communicate - it's probably the biggest thing.
"It's the ability to defuse the situation through communicating with the players and having them understand why something is being called."
Mr Haslemore, who played ice hockey himself from age 5 until he was 13, said players could get frustrated, and referees could help, including with empathy.
Since leaving Dunedin, he has started his career in Wellington, working as a corporate finance analyst at Deloitte.
After earlier gaining increasingly significant refereeing experience over the years in New Zealand, he officiated in his first international tournament in 2017.
Last November, he moved to Canada for two and a-half months to referee hockey and officiated at 155 games while there.
However, while in Canada he still had to complete his Otago thesis.
"My days would consist of writing in the mornings and refereeing in the evenings and it took me until mid-January of this year to complete it."
In future, he aims to travel to Europe to further his ice hockey officiating career.
Careful planning, working "incredibly hard" at his studies, and help from "incredibly accommodating" lecturers in the Otago accountancy and finance department helped him to succeed in his studies.
Mr Haslemore has already refereed six international games and is keen to do more.
No player would deliberately take a swing at a referee, but when intervening in fights between players "you have to be very careful".
"I don't think you are at great risk.
"The big thing I always try to remember, as an official you only play a very small part of the game, to make sure the game flows smoothly.
"The game is not about us."
People with big egos would not go far as ice hockey officials.
"You have to put that ego aside."