Linesman Tommy Hughes will make his NHL debut today as the Buffalo Sabres host the Florida Panthers.

Hughes – wearing #65 – will take the ice alongside linesman Shandor Alphonso and referees Dan O’Rourke and Chris Lee.

From the NHLOA:

Born in London, Ontario, Tommy grew up playing minor hockey for the London Jr Knights. When he was 17, he signed as a free agent with his hometown London Knights which was a dream come true. He played parts of 4 seasons in London, winning two OHL championships, and going to two Memorial Cups.

Following his time with the Knights, Tommy was signed to an entry level contract with the New York Rangers as a free agent. He spent 4 seasons in the Rangers system playing with the Hartford Wolfpack of the AHL. Following his time in Hartford he also spent time in Hershey (AHL), in Nottingham (EIHL) and in Charleston (ECHL) where he wrapped up his 7 years pro hockey career [in 2019-20].

Hughes, 30, posted five goals and 25 assists in 237 AHL games, along with 149 penalty minutes.  Hughes was teammates in Hartford with current NHLers J.T. Miller, Cam Talbot; while in the ECHL, he skated with goaltenders Logan Thomson and Vitek Vanecek.

OHL teammates of Hughes include Josh Anderson, Max Domi, Bo Horvath, Vladislav Namestnikov, Austin Watson, Andreas Athanasiou, Seth Griffith, Chris Tierney, and goaltender Anthony Stolarz.


After he stopped playing hockey, his friend and fellow NHL linesman Kyle Flemington convinced him to apply and attend the 2021 NHL Officiating Exposure Combine where he got his first taste of being an official. The experience inspired him to pursue officiating and was he was offered positions in the OHL and AHL.

After a successful season of working the CHL top prospects game, officiating the OHL Championship series and the Calder Cup playoffs Tommy was offered a full-time NHL linesman contract.

Congratulations to Tommy Hughes on his NHL debut in stripes!