Referee Wes McCauley was honored for working 1000 NHL Games prior to Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights. The veteran official, a native of Georgetown, Ontario, was recognized on ice prior to the start of the game. He was joined by his family, fellow officials, and NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom, where he was presented signed jerseys by both teams.
McCauley worked the game alongside referee Kevin Pollock and linesmen Steve Barton and Brian Murphy. Sunday’s game was actually McCauley’s 991st; the veteran official will hit the milestone shortly into the new year but opted to celebrate his accomplishment in front of the Vegas fans. McCauley, a former Detroit Red Wings draft pick, played professional hockey with the Las Vegas Thunder, among other teams.
Congratulations, Wes McCauley! 👏 pic.twitter.com/RmOjnvXmOD
— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 24, 2018
“My job’s just to officiate hockey games and to do the best I can and to move on to the next game and really to stay out of the highlights,” McCauley told the Associated Press. “I’ve never really taken it for granted, so I try to go out there and referee every game the best I can.”
From the NHL Officials Association:
McCauley was born in Georgetown, Ontario a small town just outside Mississauga. The former defenseman grew up in an officating family, his father was John McCauley, a former NHL referee who worked a total of 15 years on the ice before becoming the NHL Director of Officiating after an eye injury forced him to hang his whistle. Although he was gravitating around the officiating world throughout his whole childhood, just like any Canadian kid, McCauley dreamed to make it to the NHL as a player and not as an official!
In 1989, Wes accepted an offer from Michigan State Univesity and went on to play for the Spartans for a total of 4 seasons. He was named co-captain of his team in his final season sharing the duty with ex-NHL player and good friend Bryan Smolinski. At the end of his last season at Michigan State (1993), McCauley won the inaugural Terry Flanagan Memorial Award, a recognition who is given to the player who best demonstrates perseverance, dedication and courage while overcoming severe adversity and which is also voted by the coaches of each CCHA team. During his time with Michigan State, Wes was also drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 8th round (150th overall) at the 1990 NHL Entry Draft who were hosted in Vancouver B.C. that year.
After graduating from Michigan State, McCauley went on to play some professional hockey for the following four seasons (1993-1997). He skated in the International Hockey League (IHL) with the Las Vegas Thunder and the Fort Wayne Komets, the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with the Knoxville Checkers, the Colonial Hockey League with the Muskegon Fury and finished his playing days oversea in the Italian Serie A League where he dressed up for Milan.
Once his playing days were over, his desire to stay around the game of hockey and also his unusual life experiences with the officiating world pushed him to pick up a whistle. He first started to work games in the different minor hockey leagues in the province of Ontario, Canada. The following year (1998), he was hired by the East Coast Hockey League as a referee and ended up spending the following three seasons working on his craft in that league. Former NHL Director of Officiating Andy Van Hellemond offered him a NHL minor league referee contract in the summer of 2001. He made his NHL debut on January 20, 2003 in Columbus OH when the Chicago Blackhawks were in town to play the Blue Jackets. That night McCauley became only the third ever second-generation (after his father John) to work an NHL Regular Season Game as an NHL on-ice official. The other 2 being Mark Shewchyk (Father Dave Shewchyk), and Angelo D’Amico (Father John D’Amico).
McCauley was promoted to a full time NHL status in the summer of 2005.
Congratulations to referee Wes McCauley on 1000 games!
Here are some of McCauley’s more memorable moments: