Linesman Vaughan Rody misses hockey.  The veteran linesman hasn’t seen the ice in nearly a year, though he’s looking to pull on the stripes some time this season.   After a season-ending injury and susequent off-season surgery, Rody’s got some work to do.

The veteran linesman made his NHL debut in 2000, when he took the ice for a game between the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.   Since then, he’s suited up for over 873 regular season games and made 23 playoff appearances.  He’s hoping to make it back to the NHL and add to that total.


Rody’s Injury

Rody was injured on a seemingly-innocent play last November. “I was just in front of the net, and a player just bumped into me,” Rody said. “He was skating behind me, and he brushed past me. I was caught between two players and as he hit me my left side of my body wasn’t able to move, and my right side did. And I could feel it right then: something’s not right.”

Rody tried to battle through the injury, continuing to work games in December and January.  He last donned the stripes on January 26, for a game between the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks.  He went in for spinal surgery a few days later.

Rody’s Recovery

While training for his return to action, Rody suffered a major setback that required additional surgery.  He’s now sidelined, with an estimated recovery time that would see him miss the entire 2014-15 NHL season.

NHL Linesman Vaughan Rody

NHL Linesman Vaughan Rody (#73)

Rody’s working hard to get back on the ice sooner.  “I’m going to shoot for the first of February,” he told the Winnipeg Sun. Rody’s doing an excellent job of remaining ahead of schedule. The Sun’s Paul Friesen reports that Rody has been making good progress working with the Vancouver Canucks’ spine doctor and physical therapist, with six hours of training per day that includes four miles of walking and 90 minutes of cycling.

Rody’s determined to make it back on the ice.  The 45-year-old linesman is motivated by a few specific goals he wants to reach once he returns.

“I’d like to be the second official [from Winnipeg] to [reach 1,000 games],” he said.  Two more full seasons in the league would get him to that milestone.

“The biggest thing is, I’ve never worked a Stanley Cup Final,” Rody said. “And I’m not leaving without one.”

“I refuse to go out like this,” Rody said. “I will not have this dictate how my last game ends — there’s no way.”

Read the full story from Paul Friesen at the Winnipeg Sun