NHL linesman Shandor Alphonso talks about his path from the Ontario Hockey League to the National Hockey League.
Prior to wearing the stripes, Alphonso was a left winger with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. He later played college hockey at Ontario’s Lakehead University.
After Alphonso’s playing career ended – including being cut from the Atlanta Thrashers’ amateur camp – he attended the NHL Amateur Combine for potential officials. The Orangeville, Ontario, native then began officiating in various leagues, including three years manning the lines in the Ontario Hockey League.
“Obviously with me playing [in the OHL] it helped me big time,” he said. “I didn’t have a ton of experience, but I could skate, and I knew the game. They gave me a shot.”
In 2014, Alphonso was invited to the NHL’s inaugural Officials Exposure Combine. He was hired by the league two weeks later.
Alphonso made his NHL debut on October 17, 2014, working a game between the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres. He was promoted to full-time in 2016.
He’s the league’s second black official, after referee/linesman Jay Sharrers, who officiated in the league from 1990-2017.