The 55 train is coming to a stop tonight after 2,230 National Hockey League games.
Linesman Shane Heyer will work the final game of his 30-year career tonight in Anaheim as the Ducks take on the Los Angeles Kings. Heyer will take the ice alongside fellow linesman Brad Kovachik and referees Wes McCauley and Brad Watson.
Heyer is one of a handful of officials who have worked games as both a linesman (1,630 regular season games) and referee (386 regular season games). He’s also seen action in 214 playoff games — two as a referee.
“I never thought I’d make it a career,” Heyer said. “We all wanted to be hockey players.”
Heyer made it one heck of a career. He is one of just seven officials in NHL history to break the 2,000-game mark – has officiated six Stanley Cup Finals, two World Cups (1996, 2016), and one All-Star Game (1998), along with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
From the NHLOA:
Heyer, who grew up in the Penticton B.C. Minor Hockey system, started officiating at the early age of 11. His hockey coach made his whole team try it encouraging the young athletes to become better all around player by understanding the official’s role and the complexity of the job. Heyer kept at it and he worked the Minor Hockey system for several years before reaching the B.C. Junior Hockey League after he quit playing the game at the age of 16. The Western Hockey League (WHL) promoted him to work as a linesman at the age of 19. He worked the WHL for five seasons before getting the phone call from the National Hockey League in the summer of 1988 offering him a full-time NHL linesman contract.
He made his NHL debut not long after on October 6 in Vancouver at the old Pacific Coliseum, manning the lines during a matchup between the original Winnipeg Jets and the hometown Canucks. He would get his first taste of NHL Playoff hockey quickly as he made the post-season officiating team in his second season only with the NHL. His first NHL Playoff Game was on April 18, 1990 at the defunct Chicago Stadium working a game between the Minnesota North Stars and the Blackhawks.
The man who wears uniform number 55 built an impressive resume throughout his years of service with the NHL. He has worked the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver B.C., was selected to officiate 2 World Cup of Hockey tournaments (1996 & 2016), earn the honor of being selected to work the 1998 NHL All-Star Game in Vancouver B.C., worked 2 NHL Outdoor Games (2018 New York city & 2014 Los Angeles CA) and to top it off, reached the Stanley Cup Finals 6 different times (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2008 & 2007).
He is also one of only five current NHL officials (as of 2018) to have worked NHL games as both referee and linesman. In fact, in the early years of the NHL transitioning to the two-referees system, Heyer decided to leaves the lines and try to become a full time referee instead, taking advantage of a program that the NHL offered to a few veteran linesmen in order to fill the demand of the new system for more NHL referees in a short amount of time. He spent the next few seasons as a referee, spending time between the American Hockey League (AHL) and the NHL perfecting his new craft. He would go on and work a total of 386 NHL Regular Season Games and 2 Playoff Games as a referee before deciding to return on the lines for good.
Three decades after being hired by the NHL, Heyer reached an incredible milestone that only a few on-ice officials have achieved in the history of the NHL by working his 2,000th NHL Regular Season Game on February 25, 2018 in Anaheim CA.
For a guy who never expected to spend his career in stripes, it was quite a run.
“[Officiating] was a great way to stay involved in the game,” Heyer told NHL.com. “Best players and best officials in the world. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Congratulations to linesman Shane Heyer on a terrific NHL career!