Last Saturday in his hometown of Philadelphia, referee Ian Walsh was honored for officiating his 1000th NHL game.
It was 17 years ago and 97 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike when Walsh took the ice for his first NHL game, a match between the Anaheim Ducks and the New Jersey Devils. He dropped the puck in his debut alongside referee Stephen Walkom and linesmen Brad Kovachik and Danny McCourt.
Walsh was honored for reaching the 1000-game milestone on Saturday, October 21, prior to a game between the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
Walkom, now Walsh’s boss as the NHL’s Director of Officiating, was there, as was Kovachik, manning the lines. Walsh was also joined by referee Chris Rooney and linesman Tony Sericolo.
From the NHLOA:
Walsh, who started officiating at the age of 15 in local rinks around his hometown of Philadelphia, is a proud alumnus of the USA Hockey Development Program. His officiating journey had him work his way up to the NHL by skating first in the USHL, CHL and ECHL. He joined the defunct NHL Trainee Program in 1996 where he was assigned to work games all around North America, blowing his whistle in the East Coast Hockey League, the International Hockey League (IHL), all three Canadian Major Junior League (WHL, OHL, and QJMHL), and the American Hockey League (AHL).
After three years in the NHL Trainee Program, Walsh was hired under a minor league referee contract in the summer of 1999. He worked his first NHL regular season game on October 14th, 2000 in New Jersey at the old Continental Airlines Arena when the Anaheim Ducks visited the hometown Devils. Along the way, Ian worked two NHL Outdoor Games, the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville. He made his NHL Playoffs debut on April 16th, 2009, in Detroit (Blue Jackets vs Red Wings) making him the second official from the Atlantic District – after NHLOA Alumni Linesman Pat Dapuzzo – to be selected to work the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Though the ceremony was held on October 21 in his hometown, Walsh’s actual milestone game came one week prior in Vancouver, when the Canucks fell to the visiting Calgary Flames 5-2.
Congratulations to Ian on this milestone achievement!