From the News-Sentinel comes this write-up of NHL referee Wes McCauley. Before donning the stripes, McCauley was a solid defenseman and co-captain at Michigan State who went on to a four-year pro career. His professional playing run came to an end due to injuries, but he didn’t let that keep him off the ice. He returned as an official, following the past of his father, long-time NHL official and Director of Officiating John McCauley.
There are no former Komets playing in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final, but there will be one skating. Former Komets defenseman Wes McCauley will be one of four referees used in the series between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.
McCauley, 42, played eight games with the 1995-96 Komets as a young defenseman out of Michigan State where he was a team captain. Even then, he knew his long-term career would probably include blowing a whistle rather than carrying the puck with a stick.
His father, John, who died at age 44 in 1989, was the NHL’s director of officiating for 10 years; his uncle, Ron Finn, was an NHL referee until 2000; and his cousin, Sean, was a linesman in the American Hockey League, the International Hockey League and ECHL. Even his brother Blaine worked as an official in the ECHL. Wearing stripes is skin-deep in McCauley’s family.
“That’s what (former Komets coach) Dave Farrish kept telling me,” McCauley said a few years ago. “‘Wes, you’re not playing tonight because you’d be a good referee.’ ”
After a year playing in Italy once he left the Komets, McCauley started his climb through the minors as a linesman and then a referee. He called finals games in the ECHL, IHL and AHL, then jumped to the NHL in 2003. He became a full-time NHL referee in 2005.
Last year, McCauley was assigned to work his first Stanley Cup Final.
“His uncanny ‘feel’ for the game (almost a lost art) allowed for the expected playoff intensity to flourish in each game he called,” former NHL referee Kerry Fraser wrote of McCauley on TSN.ca. “Most importantly, McCauley demonstrated the courage and good judgment to make the tough call at any point in the game regardless of the score or time. He did not put his whistle away!”
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