NHL referees decided to share a few words before dropping the puck at their respective games.

Referee Chris Rooney: Rangers vs. Lightning

Rooney kicked off the festivities at Madison Square Garden, asking “What’s better than this?”


Referee Graham Skilliter: Golden Knights vs. Kings

Skilliter kept the pre-game tradition going for the night, albeit with a simplified, scaled-back version. He dropped a few words, quickly reminded the opposing centers to put their sticks down, then dropped the puck.  Like your hungry dad tearing through grace so he could dig into that chicken pot pie, Skillsy said what he had to, and got down to business.

We still have to hand it to ref Kelly Sutherland as the leader in the clubhouse for pre-game banter, based on his soliloquy when the NHL season finally got under way after COVID delays in 2020-21.


Let’s see how it goes tomorrow.  Opening day* is done, but that doesn’t mean the stripes shouldn’t continue to offer some words of inspiration.


(*in North America. Yes, there were two regular season games last week in Europe.)