The ECHL has named referee Nolan Bloyer as the winner of the 2023 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award.
“It is a true privilege to receive the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award,” Bloyer told ECHL.com. “I am incredibly thankful that my teammates selected me for this award. I love going to the rink with this group and creating memories day in and day out.”
The award is handed out annually to an on-ice official for ‘contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff, which is voted on by the league’s officials.
“Nolan is very deserving of this honor,” said ECHL Manager of Officiating Riley Yerkovich. “His character both on and off the ice has earned the respect of the entire ECHL officiating staff and management team. I would like to congratulate him on being selected by his peers for such a meaningful award.”
Bloyer just completed his fourth season as an ECHL official. The Minnesota native was one of five referees selected to officiate the 2023 Kelly Cup Final between the Idaho Steelheads and Florida Everblades; Bloyer worked Games 1 and 3 of the series.
He missed the first round of the ECHL playoffs while overseas, officiating the IIHF Under-18 World Championship. Earlier this season, Bloyer was selected to officiate the ECHL All-Star Classic.
“There are countless people who have served as a support system for me throughout the years,” Bloyer continued. “I’d like to thank my parents, Tom and Bonnie, and my brother Jay for their continued support. Secondly, the Johnson and Jackson family for always being a home away from home. All the crew with SHRA; Dean Brandt, Jon Sass, Mike Mannin, Tom Nergard and Kent Madsen for all their mentorship. All the staff with the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program that helped provide the tools to be able to officiate professional hockey for a living. Last but not least a massive thank you to our management team. Mr. Kelly, Ryan Crelin, Joe Ernst, Riley Yerkovich and Stephen Thomson for giving me my opportunity in the ECHL. All of the development coaches and front office staff as well. They have led the way to create an incredibly fun and rewarding atmosphere within the ECHL staff. I will forever cherish my time with all of you!”
The award is named in honor of ECHL linesman Ryan Birmingham, who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in May 2007.
Birmingham began his officiating career when he was 12 years old in the Southgate Minor Hockey Association and worked his way into the USA Hockey Junior Officiating Development Program in 2003. Birmingham was hired as a full-time linesman by the ECHL in 2006 and worked 83 games in the regular season and four games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, including his final game, Florida at Charlotte, on April 17, 2007.
Prior Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award Winners
2022-23 – Nolan Bloyer
2021-22 – Christopher Williams
2020-21 – Sean MacFarlane
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