Preseason is a time to work out the kinks, shake off the rust, and get ready for the upcoming season. That’s true not only for the players, but also for the officials.
Referees get to brush up on positioning, get used to new officiating partners, and work on their mic skills. Rookie ref Dan Kelly had a minor geographical stumble on the mic Thursday night working a game between the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers.
When Habs’ Paul Byron was tripped by Panthers center Jonathan Ang, Kelly announced the penalty on the correct state, but the wrong team.
“I got 82, Tampa, tripping,” announced Kelly, as Ang dutifully headed to the box.
Interestingly, no player has even worn #82 for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a regular season game.
Kelly was hired by the NHL during the offseason. The rookie ref will be wearing stripes in the American Hockey League this season, but is expected to make his NHL debut later this season. The Morrisonville, New York, native started officiating in the Ontario Hockey League in 2018, also working in the AHL last season.
As a player, Kelly spent time up with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, later moving up for seven seasons in the AHL with the Albany Devils and San Jose Barracuda.
With 651 penalty minutes over the course of his 405-game American Hockey League career, Kelly’s certainly heard his share of penalty calls.
Now that he’s the one making them, he’ll be sure to get those calls – and the teams – right from here on out.