Linesman Andrew Smith won’t have long to wait for his first NHL game.
The rookie official will make his NHL debut on Wednesday, October 4, handling a game between the St. Louis Blues and Pittsburgh Penguins. Smith will take the ice alongside veteran linesman Scott Driscoll and referees Marc Joannette and Trevor Hanson.
Smith was one of six new officials hired during the offseason.
From the NHLOA:
Smith, a native of Kitchener, Ontario, played one season at Plattsburgh State University followed by two seasons at the University of Waterloo before hanging up his skates for good as a player at the end of the 2015-16 season.The former right-winger started his officiating career over a decade ago when he was 14, working in the small rinks around his hometown. A product of the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association himself as a player, he was encouraged to give officiating a go in his early teens by league official and family friend Fernando Nogueira. “I knew he was always a strong skater and a good hockey player and I just threw it out to him,” said Nogueira to the Waterloo Region Record, who has also worked for the KMHA in various capacities for the past 33 years.There were a lot of 6am minor hockey games over the 12 years of his officiating career, while he was working his way up the officiating system. His accession towards his dream job took a major step up last year when he finally retired as a player and attended the 2016 NHL’s Officiating Amateur Exposure Combine in Buffalo. His performance at the combine got him noticed and he was hired by the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) as a linesman where he first started on a part-time basis but, by the end of the season he was selected to work the league final and also the Memorial Cup in Windsor. His hard work on and off the ice along with his passion for the game and his dedication towards officiating also got him a few assignments in the American Hockey League (AHL) last year. Smith was hired this summer on a full time NHL Linesman status.
Smith will be manning the lines in the NHL on a full-time basis this season. With his first game under his belt, he’ll have about 76 more to look forward to during his first year in the league.
Congratulations and all the best to Andrew Smith as he kicks off the 2017-18 season and his NHL career.