Referee TJ Luxmore and linesman Trent Knorr have been promoted to full-time officials in the National Hockey League. These appointments fill the spots vacated by the retirements of veteran officials Paul Devorski and linesman Jean Morin.
Referee TJ Luxmore
Luxmore, a native of Timmins, Ontario, worked 21 games this past season, the most of any part-time referee. He’s officiated 23 NHL games, having made his debut in the 2013-14 season. He most recently officiated the AHL’s 2015 Calder Cup Finals between the Manchester Monarchs and the Utica Comets.
Luxmore finished 2014-15 ranked near the league average in power plays per game (3.1), minors per game (3.6), home penalty variance (48% of calls on home teams), and home win percentage (48%). Curiously, teams averaged just 4.7 goals per game combined when Luxmore was working, lowest of any referee.
Luxmore, 30, is the third-youngest referee in the league, older than only Garrett Rank and Tom Chmielewski, both 28.
“We knew TJ would make it to the NHL. It was always a matter of when, not if,” said University of Waterloo Associate Director of Campus Recreation Marc Iturriaga, upon Luxmore’s NHL hiring. Luxmore spent time as an intramural referee and referee-in-chief at the University of Waterloo. “TJ brought strong leadership and mentoring to our officials, and is an example of the type of student leader that makes Campus Rec at uWaterloo one of the best in the country.”
Luxmore got his officiating start in minor hockey before moving up to the OHA, where he started as a linesman before transitioning to referee. He followed the same path in the OHL, going from linesman to referee. During his final OHL season, Luxmore also worked part time in the IHL, CHL, and ECHL. From there, he made the jump to work full time in the ECHL, where we worked as a referee full-time from 2010-12, working the Kelly Cup Finals in both 2011 and 2012. He signed with the NHL in 2012 and began working full-time in the AHL.
“It was an amazing feeling – something you cannot prepare for,” Luxmore told Z Hockey of being hired by the NHL. “You spend so many days away from friends and family working toward your dream. When you get the call, it’s a special moment.”
Luxmore made his NHL debut on November 19, 2013, alongside referee Dennis LaRue and linesmen Andy McElman and Bryan Pancich.
Linesman Trent Knorr
Knorr worked the lines for 49 games during the 2014-15 season, giving him a career total of 65 NHL games.
The Powell River, British Columbia, native worked his way up the ranks as a linesman, starting in the WHL. He joined the ECHL in 2005 at just 17 years of age, where he officiated from 2005-11. After being scouted by the NHL, it was suggested that he consider switching to a referee role due to the lack of opportunities for linesmen within the league.
“We liked Knorr as a linesman, but there just [weren’t] any opportunities coming up,” said NHL Officiating Supervisor Bob Hall. “He knew he’d have a better chance to make the NHL.”
Knorr made the jump to referee in 2010-11, overseeing 45 games in the WHL and one in the ECHL. As a rookie, he refereed the first two rounds of the WHL playoffs. He kept the armbands, refereeing full-time in the WHL and BCHL for 2011-12, while continuing to work part-time as a linesman in the ECHL.
In 2012, Knorr was offered a job with the NHL as a referee. He went to work in the AHL full-time to prepare. In his second year in the league, Knorr worked the AHL’s Calder Cup Final.
“I remember when I got the phone call from [then-NHL Director of Officiating] Terry [Gregson], I was shocked and it felt like everything was a blur,” said Knorr. “It’s something you have dreamed and hoped to achieve for so long and then to finally get that call was nothing short of amazing.”
Knorr made his NHL debut as a referee on November 13, 2013, working a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild. He suited up alongside referee Dan O’Halloran and linesmen Mike Cvik and Scott Driscoll. A month later, he worked his second NHL game as referee. It would also be his last.
Knorr transitioned back to the job he grew up doing — manning the lines. Knorr made his NHL debut as a linesman on February 26, 2014, working a game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche with linesman Jay Sharrers and referees Eric Furlatt and Dean Morton.
“If you’re a linesman, then just about 100 per cent of the time, that’s it, you’re a linesman [for good],” said fellow linesman Kirk Van Helvoirt, who worked alongside Knorr in the ECHL. “It’s not like switching from forward to defence. It’s two different jobs.”
Knorr spent the remainder of the 2013-14 season on the blueline. That’s where he’ll stay, now moving to a full-time spot there in the National Hockey League.
Congratulations and best of luck to TJ Luxmore and Trent Knorr on their first full-time seasons in the NHL.