Four officials will reportedly be joining the NHL ranks this summer. Here’s the new batch of recruits:
Pierre Lambert, Referee
Lambert, 28, began officiating at age 14 in his hometown of St-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec. He refereed three seasons in the QMJHL, working 116 regular season games and 18 playoff games including the 2013 President’s Cup Final. He moved up to the ECHL for the 2013-14 season, where he handled the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Finals three straight years. He also spent time in the AHL over the past two years, refereeing 68 AHL games in 2015-16.
“Lambert is one of those guys who has complete control,” said head coach Gary Graham of the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. “He’ll let you know right away he’s going to [hand out unsportsmanlike conduct penalties]. If you don’t respect his crew, it’s going to be a long night for you.”
Peter MacDougall, Referee
MacDougall is coming off his first trip to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Finals. The 30-year-old finished his third season with the ECHL. The native of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, also officiated 74 games in the AHL this past season.
Before donning the stripes, MacDougall played at Canisius College. He led the Golden Griffins in penalty minutes in his final three seasons, finishing his college career with 396 PIM in 128 games played. He moved on to the Southern Professional Hockey League, where he continued to spend time in the box as an enforcer with the Columbus Cottonmouths, amassing 226 penalty minutes in his 90 SPHL appearances over two seasons. MacDougall returned to the SPHL in 2012 as an official, working games with his old teammates and impressing his former coach.
“He can skate,” said Cottonmouths general manager and head coach Jerome Bechard. “Being a former player, he understands the speed of the game.”
Former captain Pete MacDougall (’10) is in Buffalo for the NHL’s Referee Exposure Combine. Body fat looks about 0%. pic.twitter.com/fi4y27ntFn
— Canisius Hockey (@GriffsHockey) August 15, 2014
Chris Schlenker, Referee
Schlenker, 31, was recently named the WHL’s top official, having received the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy earlier this year. He completed his third season in the WHL, working the Finals as well as being named to officiate the 2016 Memorial Cup. Schlenker made his professional debut on October 17, 2015, working a game between the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and Albany Devils.
Schlenker, from Medicine Hat, Alberta, played in the WHL. He suited up with the Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders from 2001-2005, picking up 786 penalty minutes along the way. The blueliner headed to Europe for a season before returning home and trading his stick for a whistle.
“You just keep your head down and keep working, control what you can control and hope the rest takes care of itself,” said Schlenker at the WHL’s awards banquet. “The last five years it’s kind of gone from junior A to the Western Hockey League and the American League this year. I’ve been pretty fortunate to be in the position I’m in and I’ve had lots of help along the way.”
Ryan Daisy, Linesman
Daisy, 27, recently manned the lines for the 2016 Calder Cup Final. He was one of six linesmen selected to work the series, which he did alongside AHL/NHL linesmen Shandor Alphonso, Devin Berg, Brandon Gawryletz, and John Grandt. Now he gets to join that group of 40/40 linesmen, splitting time between the AHL and NHL for 2016-17.
Daisy joined the American Hockey League and the ECHL in 2012. He also has experience in the CHL, SPHL and USHL. The Mansfield, Massachusetts, native is a product of the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program.
Internationally, Daisy represented the US at the 2015 IIHF Under 18 1A tournament in Belarus. He was also selected to officiate the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
With the NHL Exposure Combine later this summer, the officials may not be done with new enrollment. Last season saw the retirements of referees Rob Martell, Greg Kimmerly, and Dennis LaRue, along with linesmen Mike Cvik, Brad Lazarowich, and Andy McElman. That may mean there are still two linesmen jobs left to fill.
Sources close to the officials have confirmed the hirings, though the National Hockey League declined to comment. We’ll wait for the official word later this summer.
Congratulations to the league’s newest officials!