ECHL referee Andrew Bruggeman was chosen as the 2020 recipient of the league’s Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award.
“It is a great honor to receive the Birmingham Award,” said Bruggeman. “I’m incredibly thankful for my teammates for selecting me for this honor. We have such an incredible group of people in the ECHL and working with you guys every night is a real treat for me.”
The award, voted on by the ECHL’s referees and linesmen, is handed out annually to an on-ice official for his “contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff.”
“I would like to congratulate Andrew on being this year’s recipient of the Ryan Birmingham Award,” said ECHL Manager of Officiating Stephen Thomson. “He is a leader for our officiating team both on and off the ice, and his dedication to the ECHL is second to none. It is a great honor to be nominated by his teammates for this award.
“Andrew can add this to the long list of accomplishments throughout his officiating career and I would like to personally thank Andrew for his efforts and contributions to the ECHL Officiating Team.”
Bruggeman recently wrapped up his fourth season in the ECHL and third in the American Hockey League. In January, he was tapped to work the ECHL’s 2020 All-Star Classic in Wichita, alongside referee Sean MacFarlane and linesmen Chuck Schamel and Christopher Williams. Bruggeman officiated the 2019 Kelly Cup Finals, including the Game 6 series clincher that saw the Newfoundland Growlers claim the championship in their inaugural season.
Earlier this year, Bruggeman was one of the 16 referees selected to work the 2020 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland. Unfortunately, that tournament – like the ECHL season – was cancelled due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. It would have been Bruggeman’s first World Championship. He’s previously officiated the World Juniors (2019, Canada) and U18 World Championship, Division I, Group A (2018, Latvia).
“I’d like to thank my parents, Dave and Julie, and my brother Tyler,” said Bruggeman. “Your support throughout my career has been more than I could ever hope for, and your guidance and advice has always led me down the right path. To my girlfriend, Meghan, thank you for your love, your patience, and your acceptance of the crazy schedule we keep.”
“I’d like to thank USA Hockey’s Officiating Development Program and their officiating supervisors who helped grow me into the official and person I am today. Finally, I’d like to thank our management team. Mr. Kelly, Ryan, Joe, Stephen, all of our Development Coaches and the office staff, thank you for continuing to provide us all a place to develop as referees and for all your guidance and friendship. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities that the ECHL has given me.”
Bruggeman began officiating at age 12, working his way up through various amateur and professional organizations, including the USHL and SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League). He refereed the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects game, the 2015 USHL Clark Cup Finals, the 2015 SPHL President’s Cup Final.
He also worked the 2018 USA All-American Prospects Game in his home state of Minnesota alongside referee Sean MacFarlane and linesmen Kevin Briganti and Patrick Richardson.
Congratulations to Andrew Bruggeman on this honor.
The Ryan Birmingham Memorial award is named in honor of the former ECHL linesman who lost his life in an automobile accident in 2007. Previous winners:
2019-20 Andrew Bruggeman
2018-19 Patrick Richardson
2017-18 Charlie O’Connor
2016-17 Scott DeBaugh
2015-16 Camden Nuckols and Oliver “Butch” Mousseaux
2014-15 Scott Senger
2013-14 Travis Jackson
2012-13 Brad Phillips
2011-12 Jason Rollins
2010-11 Paul Carnathan
2009-10 Ray King
2008-09 Michel Voyer
2007-08 David Jones