It’s a milestone match for linesman Derek Amell tonight as he takes the ice for Canucks vs. Blue Jackets.  The veteran official will be working his 1400th National Hockey League regular season game. 

Amell made his NHL debut in October of 1997, working a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins.  He manned the bluelines with fellow linesman Ray Scapinello while Richard Trottier wore the bands.

(Ron Francis had a goal and an assist in that one, playing for the Penguins against a team for which he would one day become its general manager.)

Amell has gone on to work six Stanley Cup Finals (2009, 2012, 2014-16, 2018), two World Cups of Hockey (2004, 2016), and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.


Linesman Derek Amell
Amell signals for icing in a game at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (Photo: Scouting the Refs)


From the NHLOA

Born in Port Colborne, Ontario, Amell started officiating when he was 21 and in his second year at the Durham College in Oshawa, Onatrio taking Chemical Engineering Technology. He used to play hockey with the referee assigner’s son and after running into him, his friend said that his dad was looking for referees. After talking to the assigner he ended up going to the next officiating clinic, got certified and was assigned to Novice out of Harman Arena and went from there.

Amell moved up the ranks pretty quick due to his size and calm demeanor on the ice and in worked his first Ontario Hockey League (OHL) three years later game at the age of 24. He worked the OHL for four years as a linesman. On his fourth year, the Montreal Canadiens relocated their AHL team to Hamilton, Ontario creating a need for the AHL to form a staff of local linesmen in the area. Amell was selected along with five other Southern Ontario linesmen to work the games that year. That year he ended up working the OHL Finals and also got the chance to work the AHL Calder Cup Finals because the Hamilton Bulldogs made it to the Final!

In the summer of 1997, the National Hockey League offered him a minor league contract (40-40) as a linesman splitting his duties between the AHL and the NHL. Amell worked his first NHL Regular Season game in Pittsburgh on October 11th, 1997 when the Carolina Hurricanes were in town to play the Penguins.

His first playoff game came on April 18th, 2002 when the Montreal Canadiens visited the Boston Bruins at the FleetCenter Arena. Amell worked the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins played at the Pittsburgh Heinz Field on January 1st 2011 and also the 2017 Coors Light Stadium Series game in the same building in Pittsburgh between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Amell was a member of the officiating staff that went to Russia to work the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Amell was selected to work the Gold medal game with referees Kelly Sutherland, Brad Meier and linesman Greg Devorski.

Amell has been voted by his peers in the summer of 2017 to serve on the NHLOA Executive Committee.

Congratulations to Derek Amell on 21 seasons and 1400 games and counting!