With the retirements of a handful of veteran officials, the NHL had some important jobs to fill. Here are the seven referees and linesmen joining the National Hockey League’s officiating ranks for the 2016-17 season.
Pierre Lambert (#47)
Lambert, 28, began officiating at age 14 in his hometown of St-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec. He refereed three seasons in the QMJHL, working 116 regular season games and 18 playoff games including the 2013 President’s Cup Final. He moved up to the ECHL for the 2013-14 season, where he handled the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Finals three straight years. He also spent time in the AHL over the past two years, refereeing 68 AHL games in 2015-16.
“Lambert is one of those guys who has complete control,” said head coach Gary Graham of the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets. “He’ll let you know right away he’s going to [hand out unsportsmanlike conduct penalties]. If you don’t respect his crew, it’s going to be a long night for you.”
Peter MacDougall (#45)
MacDougall is coming off his first trip to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Finals. The 30-year-old finished his third season with the ECHL. The native of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, also officiated 74 games in the AHL this past season.
Before donning the stripes, MacDougall played at Canisius College. He led the Golden Griffins in penalty minutes in his final three seasons, finishing his college career with 396 PIM in 128 games played. He moved on to the Southern Professional Hockey League, where he continued to spend time in the box as an enforcer with the Columbus Cottonmouths, amassing 226 penalty minutes in his 90 SPHL appearances over two seasons. MacDougall returned to the SPHL in 2012 as an official, working games with his old teammates and impressing his former coach.
“He can skate,” said Cottonmouths general manager and head coach Jerome Bechard. “Being a former player, he understands the speed of the game.”
Former captain Pete MacDougall (’10) is in Buffalo for the NHL’s Referee Exposure Combine. Body fat looks about 0%. pic.twitter.com/fi4y27ntFn
— Canisius Hockey (@GriffsHockey) August 15, 2014
Chris Schlenker (#48)
Schlenker, 31, was recently named the WHL’s top official, having received the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy earlier this year. He completed his third season in the WHL, working the Finals as well as being named to officiate the 2016 Memorial Cup. Schlenker made his professional debut on October 17, 2015, working a game between the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and Albany Devils.
Schlenker, from Medicine Hat, Alberta, played in the WHL. He suited up with the Regina Pats and Prince Albert Raiders from 2001-2005, picking up 786 penalty minutes along the way. The blueliner headed to Europe for a season before returning home and trading his stick for a whistle.
“You just keep your head down and keep working, control what you can control and hope the rest takes care of itself,” said Schlenker at the WHL’s awards banquet. “The last five years it’s kind of gone from junior A to the Western Hockey League and the American League this year. I’ve been pretty fortunate to be in the position I’m in and I’ve had lots of help along the way.”
Furman South (#44)
South, 28, from Pittsburgh, played youth and high school hockey before moving up to Junior A with the EJHL’s Bay State Breakers. From 2008-2012, he played NCAA Division I hockey at Robert Morris University, picking up 11 goals and 20 assists in 133 games on right wing.
Once his college career ended, he transitioned to officiating. South previously worked in the AHL, NAHL, and USHL.
“My favorite part of refereeing,” he told ProSmartHockey, “is staying involved on the ice as part of a team and giving back to the sport I played my entire life.”
Cameron Voss (#41)
Voss, a 29-year-old from Worcester, Massachusetts, spent last season working in the AHL and college. He took the ice for the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, held earlier this year in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He also officiated this season’s NCAA Frozen Four tournament, representing Hockey East. Voss, along with linesman Ryan Daisy, participated in USA Hockey’s Elite Officiating camp in 2015.
Voss and South both worked the NHL’s 2014 Prospect Camp in Traverse City, Michigan.
Ryan Daisy (#81)
Daisy, 27, recently manned the lines for the 2016 Calder Cup Final. He was one of six linesmen selected to work the series, which he did alongside AHL/NHL linesmen Shandor Alphonso, Devin Berg, Brandon Gawryletz, and John Grandt. Now he gets to join that group of 40/40 linesmen, splitting time between the AHL and NHL for 2016-17.
Daisy joined the American Hockey League and the ECHL in 2012. He also has experience in the CHL, SPHL and USHL. The Mansfield, Massachusetts, native is a product of the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program.
Internationally, Daisy represented the US at the 2015 IIHF Under 18 1A tournament in Belarus. He was also selected to officiate the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
Kory Nagy (#97)
Like South and Voss, linesman Kory Nagy also comes from the AHL. Unlike those two, he played there.
The former defenseman, a 2008 fifth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils, has a combined 306 games of pro hockey under his belt, In 117 AHL games with the Devils, Phantoms, and Marlies, he racked up seven goals and 15 assists. Nagy previously spent time in the ECHL and OHL. His playing career ended in 2014.
Nagy, 26, quickly went from defending the blueline to manning it. After joining the NHL’s officiating program as a minor league official in 2014, he’s worked games in the ECHL and AHL. The native of Walsingham, Ontario, also had a chance to referee games in the SPHL.
Nagy was featured on ECHL Week, where he spoke about the start of his officiating career.
“It was funny how it all started. My brother has a gym in Ontario and one of the guys’ sons that goes there is a supervisor for the officials and he suggested to my brother that I give officiating a try At that point, I had no idea that this was ever an option or that guys actually did this. I thought about it a little bit and it seemed like it’d be a decent fit and that I should potentially give it a try.
“I’m really enjoying it. Last year was my first year doing this — anything in the officiating world — and it was kind of weird seeing guys on the ice that I was playing with the year before. Last year was a little tougher for me to swallow that I wasn’t playing. This year, I’ve accepted it and am really enjoying it. I don’t look back at all anymore. I’m just looking forward and looking to the next chapter.”
For Nagy, it looks like that next chapter will be the NHL.
Congratulations and best of luck to the NHL’s newest officials!
(This article contains content previously published separately on Scouting the Refs)