The NHL has promoted referees Carter Sandlak and Brandon Schrader, along with linesman Dan Kelly, to full-time officials within the league. 

The two refs fill vacancies created by the retirement of referees Marc Joannette and Ian Walsh. Kelly takes the slot vacated by linesman Kory Nagy, who stepped away from officiating prior to the start of last season. 

Sandlak and Schrader both officiated the AHL’s Calder Cup Final championship, working together for Game 7 between the Hershey Bears and Coachella Valley Firebirds alongside NHL/AHL linesmen Joe Mahon and Ryan Jackson.

Sandlak has officiatied 34 NHL games, having made his league debut on March 22, 2022. The former ECHL winger made the jump to officiating after wrapping up his professional playing career in 2018.  Carter’s had the opportunity to follow in two generations of family footsteps, with his dad, Jim, a former NHL player, and his grandfather an AHL linesman.  In addition to wearing stripes in the ECHL and AHL, Sandlak was also selected to officiate the 2019 CHL Top Prospects game and the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

Schrader worked his first NHL game on March 1, 2019; he’s since gone on to handle 117 games in the league, including ten as a linesman. A northern New York native, Schrader graduated with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice; while in school, he quickly learned to apply his studies on the ice, officating in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) and the USA Hockey’s North American Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL). He quickly moved up to NCAA games, working in the Atlantic Hockey League, and, ultimately, started in the AHL during his senior year. 

Kelly, who’s officiated 142 National Hockey League games, picked up his first NHL assignment on January 28, 2021 –  working a game featuring his former organization.  While Kelly never played an NHL game, he was signed by the New Jersey Devils in 2010, spending six seasons with the AHL’s Albany Devils.  The former defenseman most recently suited up for the San Jose Barracuda in 2016-17; he ended his AHL career with 15 goals, 56 assists, and 651 penalty minutes in 405 career games. After a season behind the bench, Kelly made the move to officiating, wearing the stripes in the Ontario Hockey League and AHL beginning in the 2018-19 season.


Sandlak will wear #29, while Schrader moves to #34. Kelly will retain the #98 he wore last season.