NHL referees and linesmen are having a rough year. They’ve had to deal with mumps, pucks, and punches, not to mention the other everyday hazards of their jobs. Referee Dean Morton, though, has seen some of the worst of it.
Morton started the season on the IR, reportedly recovering from offseason surgery. After a conditioning stint in the AHL, he made his NHL return on November 4.
Morton dodged a near-injury a few days back. When Sergei Gonchar and Ondrej Palat came together behind the net, Morton was in the middle. The referee ended up taking a stick to the mouth, though he managed to hang on to all his teeth. Morton finished that game. On Friday night, he was not so lucky.
In an attempt to get out of the way, Morton jumped into the air along the corner boards. Leafs forward David Clarkson slid on his knees, crashing into the airborne referee. The impact sent Morton crashing to the ice, where he landed flat on his back.
Morton was in obvious pain as he was helped off the ice. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery and a quick return to the ice.
Here’s the full video of the scary scene at the Air Canada Centre: