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 9.3% more penalties on the road teams, though home teams won just 41% of the games he officiated.
He also refereed the past three AHL Calder Cup Finals, including the Texas Stars’ decisive Game 5 4-3 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps to claim the 2014 Calder Cup Championship.
Skilliter also officiated the 2013 Spengler Cup, held in Davos, Switzerland.
From the NHL Officials Association:
After spending six seasons in the Western Hockey League, Graham has also worked internationally at the 2009 World University Games, 2004 World Under 17 Challenge, 2010 World Junior exhibition games and the 2010 IIHF World Championships Division II.
The 29-year-old also worked NHL Rookie Tournaments in Camrose, Alberta, Kitchener, Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan in addition to attending Hockey Canada’s Level VI Seminar in 2007. Graham spent the 2010-11 season as a full-time referee in the ECHL including Games 1 and 5 of the 2011 Kelly Cup Finals.
Skilliter’s father helped pave the path to his officiating career. “I started officiating when I was 11 years old. My dad was a local official in Kindersley, where I grew up. I followed in my dad’s footsteps, and it wasn’t necessarily for the extra money, which you hear from a lot of officials. I wanted to do it because my dad did it. He probably watched every game I did as a child.”
Best of luck to Graham Skilliter in the upcoming NHL season!
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