Month: August 2014

Ref Reading: DBD’s Fan Guide to NHL Officiating

  From Erin Bolen at Defending Big D comes a terrific breakdown of NHL officiating for the non-zebra. The biggest question is probably where to start, and that’s with a good and thorough understanding of the NHL rulebook (up to and including the infamous Table 18 that covers all the permutations of goalie interference). That’s a pretty solid beginning, though it also falls short on many fronts as the rules are incredibly subjective. Essentially, nearly every single NHL rule covers a spectrum of activity from “technically illegal but they would never call it” to “load the player into a rocket...

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NHL Ref Don Van Massenhoven Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

NHL referee Don Van Massenhoven recently retired from the National Hockey League after a 23-year career, but he hasn’t hung up his jersey just yet. The Strathroy, Ontario, native donned the zebra stripes and orange armbands to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Van Massenhoven challenged former Strathroy Rockets Jeff Carter and Andy McDonald, as well as the entire current Strathroy Rockets team.  He also encourages everyone to  go to ALS.ca to make a donation. For other referees and linesman participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, check out our previous story.  Let us know if you know...

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Q&A with NHL Linesman Derek Amell

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association recently sat down to talk with one of their former officials, NHL linesman Derek Amell. NHL linesman Derek Amell has been in the league for 17 years. His first game was between the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1997. Since then, the Port Colburne, Ontario, native has manned the lines for over 1,000 regular season games and more than 100 NHL playoff games. Amell worked the Stanley Cup Final in 2009, 2012, and 2014. He also covered the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  Amell had a memorable on-ice moment this past season when a...

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How Much Are NHL Referees Paid?

Officiating in the NHL is a highly-competitive, high-pressure job. NHL referees and linesmen put up with rowdy players and rowdier fans, both quick to criticize their on ice performance.  It’s a thankless job, one where your best night means you go unnoticed on the ice.  “You’re not out there to be noticed,” said linesman Brian Murphy. “No one at the end of the day is going to tell you that you did a good job.” One controversial call, though, and all eyes are on you.   Away from the screaming coaches, shouting fans, and argumentative players, league officials are subject...

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NHL Promotes Referee Graham Skilliter

  NHL referee Graham Skilliter has been promoted to full-time NHL referee. The Saskatoon native was hired by the NHL in 2011 and assigned to the AHL, where he spent the majority of the past three seasons. He officiated his first NHL game on January 28, 2013 (Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers, with referee Brad Watson and linesmen Mark Wheler and Jay Sharrers) before going on to work five more games in the lockout-shortened 2014 season. He worked 22 games in 2013-14, averaging 3.6 minors per game and 10.9 PIM per game — both near league averages.  He called...

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Retired NHL Linesman Kevin Collins Honored

Linesman Kevin Collins spent 28 years in stripes, from 1977 to 2005, manning the bluelines in the National Hockey League. The native of Springfield, Massachusetts, handled nearly  2,000 games, including 12 Stanley Cup Finals, two All-Star Games, and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.  He was inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008. Collins, now an Official Supervisor for the National Hockey League, was recently honored by the Chicopee Moose Club: From WWLP: On Saturday night, the Chicopee Moose Club was filled with the family and friends of Kevin Collins. He was surrounded by friends and...

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AHL Ref Kendrick Nicholson Signs with NHL

The latest official to be joining the ranks of the NHL crew is Kendrick Nicholson.  Nicholson got his start as a linesman in 2003, working the 2008 Memorial Cup and the 2009 World Under-18s. He picked up his orange armbands and made the move to refereeing shortly after.  He’s refereed two OHL finals, the 2013 Memorial Cup, and the 2014 World Under-18 Championship. He worked in the AHL as a referee last season.  He’s also seen time in the AHL as a linesman prior to making the switch. #140714533 / gettyimages.com From Steve Rice at the Stratford Beacon Herald: Kendrick...

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Remembering NHL Referee Frank Udvari

Long-time NHL official Frank Udvari recently passed away at the age of 90.  He spent 15 years as an NHL referee and another 20 as the league’s supervisor of officials.  His long and storied career took him to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 1973. Udvari, born in Yugoslavia in 1924, emigrated to Canada as a young child. He grew up in Kitchener, Ontario, playing both hockey and baseball. Udvari eventually stepped behind the bench to coach at the local rink.  When the referee didn’t show up for a game, Udvari took to the ice to officiate. ...

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FHL Referee Cody Lang Chases NHL Dream at Officiating Combine

The NHL Exposure Combine recently took place in Buffalo, New York.   Hockey officials – as well as players with no officiating experience – from across North America were invited to attend the camp and dive into the world of hockey officiating.  For many, it was a shot to leverage their previous years in stripes to try to get their break at the NHL level.   Camp attendees included scouts and managers from the NHL, OHL, and ECHL.     One such referee was Cody Lang of Bowling Green, Ohio. Writer Ryan Satkowiak over at the Sentinel-Tribune (Bowling Green, Ohio) had...

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Ref Cam – Western New York Club Hockey

It’s always cool to see a ref’s-eye-view of a hockey game, no matter what level. Referee Alex Valvo (@alex_valvo), going into his ninth year in stripes, strapped a GoPro to his helmet and took us inside a high school modified game. The Western New York High School Club Hockey match, featuring seventh and eighth graders, saw Sweet Home Middle School defeat St. Joe’s 1-0. Some game highlights: 5:40 – Watch #18 in blue take a turn as goaltender, clearing the crease then making a few saves. 6:25 – Player: “Hey, I’m getting him out.”  Ref: “Getting him out? He was all the way...

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