Tag: NHL Officials

Ottawa Senators v New York Islanders

Report: NHL working on new CBA with referees


Right when you thought it was safe to escape labor stories in the NHL, there’s some news on that front – just not with the players.

Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports the NHL and the league’s referees will meet in Toronto on Tuesday to try and and get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement set before the season.

The two sides last came to an agreement back in 2010 and came away with a four-year deal, as The Sporting News recalled. Is it possible things could get anxious and we run into a situation like the NFL had with their officials a couple years ago? It doesn’t look that way.

Back in 2010 the officials worked through the preseason before reaching an agreement before the season started.

NHL’s first European-trained referee retires

Marcus Vinnerborg

Two years ago Marcus Vinnerborg was a trailblazer of sorts, becoming the only non-American or Canadian official in the National Hockey League.

Today, he’s calling it a career.

Vinnerborg, 39, is retiring after just two seasons in the NHL…and just 40 games called (more on that in a sec.)

“Two years ago I was given the opportunity by the NHL to live my dream of officiating professional hockey in North America,” Vinnerborg said in a statement. “My family supported me and thoroughly enjoyed their experience living here. It was a difficult choice, but we have decided as a family to move back to Sweden.”

Vinnerborg thanked NHL Director of Officiating Terry Gregson for giving him the opportunity and said he’ll return to Sweden “a more educated official.”

As mentioned earlier, Vinnerborg wasn’t getting a ton of assignments and the “40 games” number jumps off the page — though to be fair, it’s not entirely unusual. Jean Hebert, who also came on board in 2010, hasn’t reffed many games either.

Also, Vinnerborg was thought to be a pretty good official.

The only red flag came in his first year, when Detroit forward (and fellow Swede) Johan Franzen approached Vinnerborg after a game to congratulate him on becoming the NHL’s first European-trained referee.

As documented by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

Don’t believe for a second that referee Marcus Vinnerborg was biased in calling the Montreal-Detroit game. (The Canadiens were livid about a third-period non-call, and power plays were 6-1 for the Wings.) Do believe, however, shaking hands with Johan Franzen was bad optics. “He’s a good ref,” said another official. “But I’m sure (the league) will talk to him about that.”

Of course, Friedman followed that up with this:

Had the note last week about referee Marcus Vinnerborg shaking hands with Johan Franzen after Detroit beat Montreal. One league official thought that mention was unfair. Franzen came over, stuck out his hand and Vinnerborg was taken by surprise, not knowing what to do. He decided to be polite, but that won’t happen again.

Well, it certainly won’t now.

Your Boston-Washington Game 7 officials are…

Stephen Walkom

The referees for tonight’s Eastern Conference quarterfinal Game 7 between Boston and Washington are Stephen Walkom (#24) and Eric Furlatt (#27).

Working the lines will be Greg Devorski (#54) and Steve Barton (#59).


— Walkom’s one of the league’s most veteran officials. He formerly served as the NHL’s vice president and director of officiating before coming out of retirement in 2009. He’s since worked the 2010 and 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

— Along with Dan O’Halloran, Walkom called the somewhat-famous “infraction free” Game 7 between Boston and Tampa Bay in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

From Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe:

This was not just a game of clean, breathtaking, exquisite hockey. It was a game of clean, breathtaking, exquisite, and penalty-free hockey.

That’s correct. Neither referee Dan O’Halloran nor referee Stephen Walkom saw the need to raise his right hand to signify an infraction. That’s because no player wished to be the guy whose borderline tripping, slashing, boarding, interference, holding the stick, or any other kind of penalty would lead to a damaging power play. If this meant there was less hitting than one might expect, so be it.

Roughing? Are you mad? Not in this game.

“It was a credit to both teams’ discipline and attention to detail,’’ Boucher said.

“I think the referees tonight let the two teams decide the outcome,’’ declared Bruins mentor Claude Julien. “I thought the referees handled themselves extremely well.’’

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first penalty-free playoff game in the last 20 years.

— Walkom’s come under fire this postseason for his involvement in two controversial incidents. The first was the Matt Carkner-Brian Boyle “fight” during Game 2 of Ottawa-New York, the second was not calling a penalty on Raffi Torres for the Marian Hossa hit.

(Note: Walkom worked both those games with fellow referee Ian Walsh.)

— Furlatt’s claim to fame this postseason was working the contentious Game 3 between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. You know, the game that featured 24 minor penalties, six fighting majors, four 10-minute misconducts, three game misconducts and a match penalty.

(For more, read this piece in Sportsnet Magazine from Gare Joyce.)

— Devorski and Barton were the linesmen for Boston’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 6.