Referee Chris Rooney will miss the World Cup of Hockey as well as the start of the NHL season. The veteran official suffered a torn Achilles tendon while at training camp in Buffalo. Rooney was taking part in fitness testing at the NHL’s Exposure Combine, which included amateur officials and the NHL and IIHF officials selected to work this year’s World Cup.
“It was during a shuttle run and it just popped,’’ Rooney told the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont. “I was doing the test for, oh, maybe 10-12 minutes . . . and, pop, it tore right off. Until then, no pain or anything. Had I felt something, obviously I would have stopped. But all of a sudden, it just went.’’
“We’ll see how it goes,’’ Rooney said of his recovery and eventual return to the ice. “Right now, I’m looking at 4-6 months. I’ll check in every couple of weeks with the doctors, but for now I’m home on the couch… and that’s about it.’’
Rooney, 41, is heading into his 15th season in the NHL, having made his league debut back in 2000. The Boston native has suited up for 976 regular season games and was on pace to hit the 1000-mark this season before being sidelined by his injury.
NHL referee Chris Lee has been named to take his place for the World Cup, which begins September 17, with pre-tournament games kicking off on September 8. Lee, a native of Saint John, New Brunswick, is going into his 17th NHL season, having officiated 936 games over that span.
Here’s wishing Chris Rooney a speedy recovery and a return to the ice later this year.
Update: Rooney’s injury was originally reported by multiple sources as an ACL tear; Sportsnet’s Roger Millions has confirmed that Rooney suffered a tear of his Achilles tendon. This article has been updated to reflect the correction.
Update 9/8: Referee Chris Lee has been named as Rooney’s replacement. The article has been updated.