Referee Furman South will drop his first NHL puck in the desert.

South, 28, will work his first National Hockey League game on Thursday as the Vancouver Canucks visit the Arizona Coyotes. He’ll take the ice alongside referee Francois St. Laurent and linesmen Darren Gibbs and Trent Knorr.

NHL Referee Furman South to Make NHL Debut

The Sewickley, PA, native played youth and high school hockey before moving up to Junior A with the EJHL’s Bay State Breakers. From 2008-2012, South played NCAA Division I hockey at Robert Morris University, picking up 11 goals and 20 assists in 133 games on right wing.  While at Robert Morris, he also picked up a biology degree, with plans to attend medical school.

Once his college career ended, he transitioned to officiating. After attending the NHL Exposure Combine, he earned an opportunity to work with the USA Hockey junior program.

South, who spent this season in the AHL, previously worked in the USHL, NAHL, and SPHL.  He was signed to an NHL contract during the offseason. South saw action in five NHL preseason games, but Thursday marks his first official one.

“I am very proud of Furman,” said Robert Morris University head coach Derek Schooley. “He has the chance to be the first Colonial on NHL ice in a regular season game.”

That moment will happen on Tuesday as South – wearing number 44 – will take the ice for his first NHL game.

South will also be teaching his craft during the offseason, instructing other officials at the Pittsburgh Elite Officiating Camps (PEOC).

“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.”

All the best to Furman South as he embarks on his NHL career!