The NHL has promoted three officials to full-time status for the 2019-20 season.
Referee Peter MacDougall has been promoted to full-time referee, along with linesmen Bevan Mills and James Tobias.
MacDougall, 33, is going into his third season in the NHL. The Saskatchewan native made his National Hockey League debut on April 8, 2017, and has 39 career NHL games under his belt. MacDougall played NCAA hockey at Canisius College, picking up 396 penalty minutes in 128 games, before moving on to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League and piling up 226 penalty minutes in 90 games with the Columbus Cottonmouths. After retiring as a player, MacDougall returned to the SPHL as an official from 2012-14 before moving up to work in the ECHL – including refereeing the 2016 Kelly Cup Finals – and later, the American Hockey League.
Mills, 31, made his NHL debut in 2016. He’s split time between the AHL and NHL over the past three seasons, working 100 National Hockey League games. The Surrey, B.C., native has spent 19 years in stripes, having worked his way up through the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL), while also picking up international assignments with the IIHF, including the 2015 World Juniors and 2015 World Championship. Mills worked the lines for two CHL Memorial Cup Championships (2013 and 2016).
“He’s just a quality guy that worked hard, but more than anything, he was just the most professional kid you could imagine,” said Derek Adams, BCHL Director of Officiating. “He was always someone you could trust in a big game.”
Tobias, 24, has handled 59 National Hockey League games since making his first appearance in November 2017. He started in stripes at age 11 before transitioning to officiating full-time at 18. Tobias, from western New York, patrolled the ice for the NCAA, ECAC, and Atlantic Hockey League. A strong showing at the 2015 NHL Exposure Combine camp earned him a spot in the AHL. Tobias juggled his AHL and college officiating assignments while finishing his biology degree with plans of pursuing neuroscience. A return trip to the NHL Exposure Combine in 2017 changed his plans, as Tobias was offered an NHL contract for the start of the 2017-18 season.
MacDougall will wear #38 as a full-time referee this season. Mills (#53) and Tobias (#61) will retain their existing numbers.
The trio fills the void left by veteran referee Brad Watson and linesmen Lonnie Cameron and Tim Nowak, all of whom retired at the end of last season.
Their promotion creates an opportunity for new officials to join the league. The NHL has hired referee Dan Kelly and linesmen Kyle Flemington, Julien Fournier, and Travis Toomey to AHL/NHL contracts for the upcoming season.