It was old school hockey as a three-man officiating crew opened up Tuesday’s game between the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche.
The puck dropped with Reid Anderson the lone referee, skating alongside linesmen James Tobias and Ryan Gibbons.
Referee Brian Pochmara, also slated to work the game, was nowhere to be found. ESPN reported that Pochmara was held out of action while awaiting the results of a COVID test.
Pochmara returned to the ice for the start of the second period, quickly jumping in to the action and calling a penalty to Colorado’s Andrei Burakowsky just 1:22 into the period.
The NHL currently has has 130 players enter COVID protocol this season, including over twenty in the past two weeks. The Hurricanes and Flames have seen recent games postponed as a result. While the league does not comment on officials potentially impacted, a handful of officials have missed time this season for unspecified reasons.
Pochmara’s last game prior to Tuesday was December 9, officiating Blue Jackets vs. Ducks with Brad Meier, Devin Berg, and Scott Cherrey.