It’s been a while since referee Francois St-Laurent took the ice in the National Hockey League. After over two months away from the game, he’s back.
St-Laurent’s last appearance came in November, working a game between the Minnesota Wild and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He appeared to finish the game without incident.
Nonetheless, after that game, St-Laurent took a lengthy stretch off. Though nothing was reported nor confirmed by the league, St-Laurent’s absence may have been due to injury – a recent one, or possibly surgery or other treatment to address an existing condition. Whatever it was, it sidelined the 38-year-old referee for ten weeks.
St-Laurent has found his way back to the ice. He recently picked up a few games in the American Hockey League, typical for officials returning from injury. Much like players sent down for a rehab stint, there’s nothing like live game action to get officials ready for an NHL return.
St-Laurent refereed in the AHL alongside fellow NHL official Tom Chmielewski for a game between the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on January 27th. Two days later, the Greenfield Park, Quebec, native was in Albany for a game between the Devils and the Utica Comets.
Tonight, he’ll return to NHL ice, handling the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins with referee Tom Kowal and linesmen Matt MacPherson and Michel Cormier.
St-Laurent was hired by the NHL in 2003, making his NHL debut two years later, when the Ottawa Senators played the Boston Bruins on November 10, 2005. In the decade since, St-Laurent has officiated 500 regular season NHL games along with 21 playoff appearances.
Prior to joining the NHL, St-Laurent donned the stripes in both the QMJHL and AHL, working the league championships in both.