We’ve had a slew of injuries to the NHL officials this season. Some are very close to returning to the National Hockey League. Here’s the latest:
Referee Steve Kozari
Returned January 6
Kozari missed some tame after undergoing minor knee surgery. He made his NHL return on Friday, January 6, working a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils.
Referee Francis Charron
Returning January 8
Charron’s last NHL game game back on October 15, officiating a game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. While there was no official confirmation on his injury, Charron appeared to be testing his right foot late in the third period, indicating a possible injury to his leg or foot. He left the game with 9:54 to play, leaving referee Dan O’Rourke to finish the game as the lone referee with linesmen Steve Barton and Bryan Pancich. He worked one AHL game, presumably on a rehabilitation stint, but hasn’t worked a game since. It’s possible Charron may have suffered a minor setback, delaying his return.
Charron is scheduled to officiate Lightning vs. Penguins on Sunday, January 8.
Referee Chris Rooney
Returning this month
Rooney was injured while in camp for the World Cup of Hockey. The veteran referee tore his Achilles tendon during fitness testing.
“It was during a shuttle run and it just popped,’’ Rooney told the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont. “I was doing the test for, oh, maybe 10-12 minutes . . . and, pop, it tore right off. Until then, no pain or anything. Had I felt something, obviously I would have stopped. But all of a sudden, it just went.’’
John Buccigross reports that Rooney will pick up a few conditioning games in the AHL in January prior to his return to the National Hockey League. He suited up for an AHL game between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Hartford WolfPack on January 7, 2017. Rooney had a solid game and appeared to be skating well.
Expect a return to the NHL next week.
Referee Dave Jackson
Jackson’s last appearance was refereeing a game between the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers on October 15. Jackson completed the game without incident. There are no details available regarding his absence.
The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo reports that Jackson will return to the ice soon.
Linesman Derek Nansen
Nansen suffered a torn ACL in training camp. While he has no tentative return date, recovery for such an injury normally takes six months. He’s expected to be out for the season.
Linesman Jay Sharrers
Sharrers finished the 2015-16 season working a playoff game between Nashville and San Jose. He’s expected to miss the entire season with a hip injury.
Linesman Don Henderson
Henderson remains sidelined with the effects of Dennis Wideman’s hit from behind. He reportedly underwent offseason neck surgery to correct issues with two ruptured discs. There’s been no mention of a potential return to the ice.