Congratulations to veteran NHL referee Brad Watson for hitting a major milestone.
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, he officiated his 1,000th NHL game. It was a rather quiet affair between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche. Only eight minor penalties were called – an even four per side. Watson worked alongside longtime referee Mike Leggo while Lonnie Cameron and Mark Wheler manned the lines.
Watson, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, joined the NHL in 1993. In addition to his 1,000 regular season games, Watson has also donned the stripes for 140 playoff appearances. He’s worked seven Stanley Cup Finals, including consecutive appearances the past two years.
“I love what I do. I really do,” Watson told the Leader Post. “I love going to the rink and I love the cities. Travel is probably the biggest challenge, with all the travel that’s delayed and the hotel stuff. But if you break it down to getting to the city and doing the game, it’s really cool.”
“It’s a challenge every night, because there’s a lot of different styles. These players are so good now. Our game is starting to take off in the south, too, so our game is more high-profile and it’s fun to be part of. You go out there and try to do your best – to do a fair job and have a good product.”
Watson, 52 and now living in Denver, was supported at the game by his family – his wife, Amy; his children Reid and Genabeth; his father, Bob; his brother Craig; and his sisters, Karen and Leslie. All sported zebra-striped jerseys for the festivities.
Congrats, Brad, from @ScoutingTheRefs, and from others across the league:
Congratulations to Referee Brad Watson & his family in honor of his 1,000’th NHL regular season game.
— Kerry Fraser (@kfraserthecall) January 22, 2014
Cool moment recognizing ref Brad Watson tonight. Zebras don’t get the thanks they deserve. My fav of all time the legend @kfraserthecall
— The Hockey Goon (@TheHockeyGoon99) January 22, 2014
— John Levantis (@hock_ref) January 22, 2014
Brad won’t be out of the spotlight for long. He’ll be taking the ice for the Stadium Series game between the Ducks and Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday night.