Saturday, August 29, 2009

Walkom Back, Stephen

Stephen Walkom is leaving his post as the NHL's director of officiating to go back to the job that he truly loves...being an NHL referee.

Walkom was one of the NHL's best referees when he accepted the job offer to become the official's "Big Bossman."

What makes this move so interesting is that Walkom is giving up a stable, high-paying gig that, for the most part, kept him in one city and close to his family for a life in which NHL stands for "no home life."

It's not uncommon for NHL officials to do be in three, four, or five different cities during the week. And unlike in baseball where umpires work as a 'crew' during the season and move from city to city together (not to mention work two to four games in each city before moving on,) NHL officials fly all over the place as individuals.

For years I worked as a hockey official so I've always paid a little more attention to the "zebras" than most, so I thought I'd give you BrockTalk's alltime fave NHL officials:

5. Mike Cvik - More than 1300 games under his belt, and as far as I know, he's the largest linesman in NHL history...6'8 if I'm not mistaken. It's always fun to watch Cvik break up a fight and he's one of the only ones that can look down at Derek Boogaard.

4. Brad Lazarowich - Game 7. Stanley Cup Finals. Winner takes all. You'll likely see Lazarowich working the lines.

3. Dan Marouelli - Just a great presence on the ice and he's never afraid to trash talk the players. CLICK HERE to see and hear Danny give a little advice to Kelly Chase.

2. Kerry Fraser - Still a crowd favourite...just a little harder to recognize now that he has to wear a helmet over that wonderfully coiffed hair. Plus, he's the author of one of the most controversial calls (or, non-calls) in NHL history. It screwed the Leafs! CLICK HERE to see it, and hear Leafs TV whine about it.

1. Ray Scapinello - Scampy! The little guy was recently and rightfully inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. There has never been an official that made the return of a puck from one end of the ice to the other, so entertaining. Ray was the best!

Do you have your faves? Maybe you have a favourite official from another sport? Leave a comment and let me know!

Welcome back to the ice Stephen Walkom and please remember that the next time YOU are on the playing surface, the officials are the law, and the law always wins!


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