Referee Mark Lemelin is heading to Europe.
The Albuquerque native, recently released by the NHL, will be plying his trade in the EBEL (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga) – or Austrian Hockey League – for 2016-17. The Austria-based league is made of of 12 teams from four countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia.
He replaces fellow American referee Shane Warshaw, who was the first foreigner to referee in the Swedish Elite League and Hockey Allsvenskan prior to his time in the EBEL. He was the lone North American official of the 36 working the league.
Lemelin, 35, officiated 58 NHL games during his three year career. His first was January 21, 2013, when the Lightning took on the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Lemelin won’t be the only former NHLer in the league. Former NHL linesman Lyle Seitz is the league’s Director of Hockey Operations. Retired NHL referee Stephane Auger also assists with officials’ evaluations and player safety decisions. Former NHL players suiting up in the EBEL include Brett McLean, Jamie Lundmark, and Jeff Ulmer.
(stick-tap to Bernd Freimuller for the heads up)