The ECHL Hall of Fame has inducted linesman Tim Nowak as part of the Class of 2022.
The ceremony took place on Monday as part of the ECHL All-Star Classic. Nowak was inducted alongside Ray Harris, current Cincinnati Cyclones owner and former Chairman of the ECHL’s Board of Governors; winger Brett Marietti, who spent nine season with the South Carolina Stingrays, winning two Kelly Cups; and goaltender Joel Martin, who is the only ECHL goaltender to have at least three seasons of 30 or more wins, and ranks fourth in wins and second in minutes played all-time.
Nowak officiated in the ECHL for three seasons before making the jump to the National Hockey League. The Buffalo native spent 16 years in the NHL, officiating 1,731 regular season games along with 114 in the playoffs – including a trip to the 2003 Stanley Cup Final.
“The ECHL is excited to resume our Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Jacksonville this January, and return to honoring the people who have helped propel this league to where we are today in our 34th Season,” said ECHL Commissioner, Ryan Crelin, prior to the event. “This year’s ceremony will honor a group that has dedicated a lot of time and professionalism in our league, and we are looking forward to gathering everyone for this special occasion.”
From the ECHL:
Tim Nowak becomes just the third on-ice official to earn enshrinement into the ECHL Hall of Fame, joining Joe Ernst (2011) and Brad Phillips (2017).
He began his career as a linesman in the ECHL in 1989 and worked three seasons in the league, twice earning an assignment working the Riley Cup Finals. He became the first ECHL on-ice official to reach the National Hockey League when he made his debut on Oct. 8, 1993, and he went on to work over 1,700 NHL games in 26 seasons before retiring in 2019. Nowak was selected to work the 2003 All-Star Game, the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the first-ever Winter Classic in 2008. He also was selected to officiate in two Winter Olympics, working games in 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2010 in Vancouver.
He has served as an ECHL Officiating Development Coach since his retirement from the NHL.
Nowak spoke back in 2016 of what he remembered most about his time in the ECHL:
I remember the discipline of having to get to the next city since the cities were so far apart. That’s how it was, and that’s what you did. It was a challenge, but when you got to the next city, you felt accomplished. And the time spent with Mr. Kelly when he came around was phenomenal. He took care of us, guided us and led us in the right direction, just like a coach. He put us in the best place to succeed and definitely had our best interest in mind. I loved my time in the ECHL, I really did. You have these small towns where the fans seem like they’re rooting for a big college team, but it’s an ECHL team, the fans were so passionate it was great.
Congratulations to linesman Tim Nowak on a terrific career, and on being honored as part of the ECHL Hall of Fame.