The Stanley Cup is heading down under. So are the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes, who are set to play the first NHL games in the southern hemisphere. 

You can’t, though, have a game without refs… so the stripes are also on their way!

Referees Kevin Pollock and Ghislain Hebert are headed to Melbourne, Australia, along with linespersons Matt MacPherson and Bevan Mills for the 2023 NHL Global Series.  They’ll be accompanied by NHL Vice President of Officiating Don Van Massenhoven.



In addition to donning the stripes for Kings vs. Coyotes, the NHL crew will also be giving back to the community by holding an officiating workshop for local ice hockey officials on September 21.

Players from both teams are excited for the pair of preseason games, slated for September 23 and 24. 

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” said Los Angeles Kings captian Anze Kopitar. “I feel like the Aussie fans, sports fans, are great in general, so I feel like hockey’s going to leave a good mark down there.”

Not only is this the first time the NHL has played a game in the southern hemisphere, but it’s also the first time the Stanley Cup has gone there.

“It’s never been below the equator, which is pretty amazing, especially in today’s world,” Phil Pritchard, vice president of the Hockey Hall of Fame, also known as the ‘Keeper of the Cup,’ told

Pritchard is not only looking forward to sharing the Cup with fans, but also about the opportunity for them to experience a National Hockey League game in person.

“I think it’s going to be very, very exciting for the fans that are down there and even for those that aren’t familiar with the game,” he said. “I think they’re going to see a game that is really fast, really exciting, and hopefully we create some new hockey fans from it.”


NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke with ESPN Australia about the upcoming event: