The KHL has handed out their 2015-16 season hardware, including the coveted Golden Whistle.

KHL Referee Eduard Odins

KHL Referee Eduard Odins

Referee Eduard Odins received the Andrei Starovoitov Award – also known as the “Golden Whistle” – as the league’s best referee. This is the 39-year-old Latvian referee’s fifth win, having previously received the award in 2014, 2013, and 2011.  The 2015 winner was Alexei Anisimov, while Vyacheslav Bulanov claimed the prize in 2012.

The award was named after long-time Russian referee Andrei Starovoitov, who officiated eight IIHF World Championships from 1955-1966. He was the General Secretary of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation from 1969-1986, and also a member of the IIHF Referee Council.  Starovoitov was elected to the IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997.

KHL’s Top Referees

Earlier this month, the KHL named their top 10 referees and linesmen of the 2015-16 season.  From the KHL:

The League ran detailed statistical analysis of the evaluations from the Refereeing Department’s observers who studied the officials over the course of the season, and was therefore able to name the ten referees and linesmen who performed their vital duties to the highest standard over the eight months of the campaign.

Top ten referees, in alphabetical order:
Alexei Anisimov
Alexei Belov
Vyacheslav Bulanov
Mikhail Buturlin
Roman Gofman
Antonín Jerabek
Sergei Kulakov
Eduard Odins
Konstantin Olenin
Alexei Ravodin

Of the ten, eight were in last season’s top officials. Referee Sergei Kulakov returns to the top ten, to which he was named in 2013-14. Referee Mikhail Buturlin, who was chosen to work the Gagarin Cup, has been named to the list for the first time.

“It is a great honor for any referee to be selected for duty in the Gagarin Cup Final series, so it was one of my main career goals,” said Buturlin. “I felt very emotional when I received the call and when I stepped out onto the ice motions were running high. For me this is the ultimate in the appreciation of my work.”

“As for the 2015-16 season, it was certainly a very challenging one for the officials. Our every move was put under the microscope for perusal by all the teams and experts. Referees are human and we can make mistakes, just as players can, but our mistakes are immediately visible and can affect the outcome of a game. Still, at least no-one can say it is boring. Having made it into the top ten, I will not rest on my laurels. I intend to repeat the success. Staying in the top ten will be much harder than reaching it.”

KHL’s Top Linesmen

The KHL also announced the top ten linesmen of the season:

Konstantin Gordenko
Gleb Lazarev
Eduard Metalnikov
Alexander Otmakhov
Stanislav Raming
Sergei Shelyanin
Roman Shikhanov
Alexander Sirotkin
Dmitry Sivov
Alexander Zakharenkov

Metalnikov, Otmakhov, Raming and Sirotkin are on the list for the first time.

“Being ranked in the top ten was, for me, a pleasant surprise,” said linesman Sergey Shelyanin. “It means I must have performed quite well over the season. It is not the easiest work, but we just try to do our job well and I think we achieve this. Yes, there was a lot more discussion about the standard of refereeing in the Championship and the clubs have an input with our ratings, but I did not feel any pressure as a result. People will always have opinions. Whenever two opponents compete, one will always be displeased with the result. If they blame the referees, that is nothing new.”

“Looking back, there were no major disasters with the work of the officials, and it is all the great hockey moments which will remain in the memory, such as the epic play-off series between Torpedo and Jokerit – tough, uncompromising action, with regular skirmishes. That is the kind of hockey I like. And several teams produce it: CSKA, Dynamo Moscow, Lokomotiv as well as Torpedo. With each year, the games become more intense, and I’m already looking forward to the next season. I’ll just do all I can and try to justify the faith shown in me by my colleagues and the League.”

Linesman Stanislav Raming also shared his comments.

“When I started working in the KHL,” said Raming, “I set myself some goals, and this season I achieved two of them: I made the top ten and I was chosen as linesmen for one of the games in the Gagarin Cup final series. Therefore, if I were to evaluate the current season, I would have to consider it a success. I was on duty in every round of the play-offs, whereas last year I only made it to the Conference quarter-finals. Officiating in the final is a great pleasure, of course, but it comes with a lot of responsibility.”

“As for how I performed, well, that is for others to judge. There are no easy games, but I try to remain focused and concentrate on the job in hand. Now I shall take some time off for the summer, have a rest from the game, and then get back to work.”

Congratulations to referee Eduard Odins on his award, as well as to all the other officials named in the top 20 KHL officials for the 2015-16 season!