The Athletic’s annual player poll results are out. While there are a ton of interesting questions – and responses – we jumped right to the questions on officiating.
Nearly 400 players were surveyed, with all 31 NHL teams represented. Players named who, among their peers, was the best, most underrated, dirtiest, and more. When it came to officials – it was simple. The survey asked players who was the best… and who was the worst.
Players surveyed by The Athletic named Wes McCauley as the league’s best referee, with #4 garnishing a whopping 71% of the vote. He was followed by veteran ref Kelly Sutherland at 15%. Dan O’Halloran and Tim Peel tied for third with 3%, with Francois St. Laurent (1%) rounding out the top five.
Other referees who received best ref votes included Justin St. Pierre, Francis Charron, Jake Brenk, Kyle Rehman, TJ Luxmore, Chris Lee, Dean Morton, Chris Rooney, Trevor Hamilton (presumably, Trevor Hanson, though you’d think if he’s your pick for top ref, you might know his name), Pierre Racicot (who’s a terrific linesman… but not a referee), Jon McIsaac, and Jean Hebert.
“Best is probably Wes McCauley,” said one player. “Just a good communicator, he’s honest with you when you get a penalty or when you do something he didn’t call, he gives you fair warning.”
Worst referee was all over the place, with 23 different officials getting votes, including McCauley and two linesmen. Referee Justin St. Pierre was named most frequently, with 42% of the responses, followed by Tim Peel (12%), Steve Kozari (7%), Chris Rooney (6%), and Marc Joannette (5%).
The Athletic noted that only half of those surveyed provided a response to the question of the league’s best official, and only 38% gave a choice for worst ref.
For more player comments on the officials and the rest of the 2020 NHL Player Poll, head on over to The Athletic.