Saturday, December 31, 2016

The History of the Spengler Cup

In addition to the ongoing World Junior Championship, this is also the time of year for the annual Spengler Cup tournament.

Spengler Cup logo, Spengler Cup logo

Founded in 1923 by Dr. Carl Spengler to promote teams from German-speaking portions of Europe who may have been ostracized in the aftermath of World War I, the Spengler Cup is hosted by HC Davos of Switzerland.

The Spengler Cup, The Spengler Cup

The tournament is an invitational tournament and the oldest such tournament in the world.

The games are held between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve with all games being held at the 7,080 capacity Vaillant Arena in Davos.

Vaillant Arena, Vaillant Arena
The Vaillant Arena in Davos, home of the Spengler Cup

The invitees over the history of the tournament are a who's who of of powerful European clubs as well as an eclectic mix of unusual and unexpected teams.

The original winners of the Spengler Cup in 1923 was the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club of England, which was made up of Canadian students. Berlin SC of Germany won the second edition in 1924 before Oxford University reclaimed the cup in 1925 and Berlin SC again in 1926.

1923 Spengler Cup Canadians, 1923 Spengler Cup Canadians
The Oxford University Club, comprised of Canadian students

Hosts HC Davos took their first championship in 1927 and LTC Prague were the first Czechoslovakian winner in 1929 and again in 1930. Diavoli Rossoneri of Milan added Italy to the list of winners in 1934 and repeated in 1935.

HC Davos 1920's, HC Davos 1920's
HC Davos in the 1920's

An era of Swiss dominance arrived in 1938 when HC Davos took their 4th title. World War II kept the tournament from being played in 1939 and 1940, but Davos picked up where they left off by winning in 1941, 1942 and 1943. Zürcher SC continued the winning Swiss ways in 1944 and 1945, giving Switzerland six titles in a row and seven out of the previous eight.

HC Davos 1940, HC Davos 1940
HC Davos in 1940 during the Swiss run of dominance

LTC Prague reeled off three titles in a row from 1946 to 1948 and the tournament was not played in 1949. HC Milano Inter took back to back wins in 1953 and 1954, the last of five titles for Italian clubs. Rudá Hvēzda Brno of Czechoslovakia won in 1955 before the tournament was not held in 1956, the last time the Spengler Cup was not held and one of only four times since 1923 the cup has not been awarded in it's history.

After HC Davos added two more titles in 1957 and 1958, ACBB (Athletic Club Boulogne-Billancourt) Paris won three consecutive cups to add France to the list of winners.

Sparta Prague won in 1962 and 1963 followed by EV Füssen of Germany, who were the last western team to take home the cup for the next 20 years as the Czechoslovakian and Soviet teams would dominate the competition going forward.

Dukla Jihlava would win in 1965, 1966, 1968, 1978 (when the tournament moved indoors for the first time) and again in 1982. HC Slovan Bratislava would win a trio of titles in 1972, 1973 and 1974 for Czechoslovakia along with the Czechoslovak Olympic Team in 1975.

1975 Spengler Cup, 1975 Spengler Cup
Outdoor Spengler Cup action in 1975

Lokomotiv Moscow would become the first Soviet winner in 1967 and repeat again in 1969 followed by SKA Leningrad in 1970, 1971 and 1977. The USSR B team won in 1976, Krylya Sovetov Moscow (Soviet Wings) in 1979 followed by Spartak Moscow in both 1980 and 1981, with Dynamo Moscow's first title coming in 1983.

1966-67 Dukla Jihlava team, 1966-67 Dukla Jihlava team
Dukla Jihlava, winners of the Spengler Cup in 1966

1984 saw the debut of Team Canada at the Spengler Cup, which resulted in their first of 14 titles to date. The team representing Canada at the Spengler Cup was originally comprised of the Canadian National Team, a roster which remained together for an entire season under the "Program of Excellence". The Program began in 1983 to represent Canada at such tournaments as the World Championships and the Spengler Cup as well as prepare for the Olympics with a full schedule of games, rather than the current format of All-Star teams who only come together just days before such competitions.

The Canadian "Program of Excellence" lasted until 1998, when the NHL began shutting down to allow it's players into the Olympics every four years, at which point Team Canada at the Spengler Cup began to be comprised of Canadians playing professionally for club teams in Europe and occasionally North American minor leaugers, who were brought together as a squad to stand for Canada.

Spartak Moscow downed Canada in 1985 and the Canadians defeated Soviet clubs in 1986 and 1987 to claim three titles in four years. The United States broke through for their only victory with a "USA Selects" squad in 1988.

Spartak Moscow won the final two times for the Soviet Union in 1989 and 1990 before the political upheaval led to the breakup of the Soviet Union, which saw CSKA Moscow win under the flag of Russia in 1991.

Although Swedish clubs had long participated in Davos, Färjestad BK's wins in 1993 and 1994 were Sweden's first titles following seven runner up finishes dating back to 1950.

The Canadians reeled off four wins in a row from 1995 to 1998, which included the participation of the Rochester Americans of the AHL in 1996, the first North American professional club to take part in the competition. Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) then became the first German team to win since 1964 when they took home the title in 1999.

Klner Haie 1999, Klner Haie 1999
The Cologne Sharks show off their 1999 Spengler Cup

Hosts HC Davos delighted the home fans by winning the tournament for the first time since 1958, a span of 42 years, when they won in 2000 and repeated the feat in 2001.

The Canadians returned to the top in 2002 and 2003 before Davos won again in 2004 before Metallurg Magnitogorsk became the first Russian club to win the tournament in 14 years with their championship in 2005.

Canada Spengler Cup 2007, Canada Spengler Cup 2007
Curtis Joseph celebrates Canada's 2007 championship

Since then, Davos in 2006, Team Canada in 2007 and Dynamo Moscow in 2008 preceded Dinamo Minsk becoming the first team from Belarus to capture the Spengler Cup in 2009, the 12th country represented  with a championship.

Dinamo Minsk Spengler Cup 2009, Dinamo Minsk Spengler Cup 2009
Dinamo Minsk becomes the first club from Belarus to win the Spengler Cup

SKA Saint Petersburg won in 2010, the fourth for the team, as they won three times in the 1970's while known as SKA Leningrad.

SKA Spengler Cup 2010, SKA Spengler Cup 2010
SKA Saint Petersburg celebrate in 2010,
the first year for the new version of the championship trophy

HC Davos defeated Dinamo Riga in 2011 to win their fifth title since 2000 after their long drought dating back to 1958.

Davos Spengler Cup 2011, Davos Spengler Cup 2011
HC Davos gathers after winning their 15th Spengler Cup in 2011

Canada regained the Spengler Cup in 2012 with a particularly loaded squad thanks to the availability of many players who would normally be occupied in the NHL if it were not for the ongoing lockout. Among the notable names on the Team Canada roster were goaltender Jonathan Bernier, forwards Matt Duchene, Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Jason Williams, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and veteran Ryan Smyth.

Tavares vs Kane, Tavares vs Kane
John Tavares battles with Patrick Kane during the 2012 Spengler Cup

Still, the other clubs also benefited from having locked out NHL players, as Davos had Joe Thornton, Patrick Kane and Loui Eriksson while Fribourg had goaltender Corey Schneider, Patric Hornqvist, Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais on their roster.

Joe Thornton Davos, Joe Thornton Davos
Joe Thornton, wearing the flaming helmet to identify him as the leading scorer

The 2013 edition saw Genève-Servette HC defeat Russian club HC CSKA Moscow by a score of 5-3 in the final for their first ever title.

 photo Genegraveve-ServetteHCSpenglerCup2013.png
Genève-Servette celebrates after winning their first Spengler Cup in 2013

In 2014, Genève-Servette HC again defeated a Russian club, this time Salavat Yulaev Ufa by a score of 3-0 to finish the tournament undefeated at 4-0.

Genève-Servette Spengler Cup 2014 photo Genegraveve-ServetteSpenglerCup2014.jpg
Genève-Servette celebrating after repeating as Spengler Cup winners in 2014

Last year Team Canada defeated HC Lugano in a close fought affair after Lugano tied the game five minutes into the final period but forward Matt D'Agostini scored later to wrap up the 13th championship for Team Canada.


Canada Spengler Cup 2015 photo Canada Spengler Cup 2015.jpg
Canada celebrates Matt D'Agostini's wining goal
on the way to their 13th Spengler Cup

This year the participating clubs are, as always, hosts HC Davos, the traditional entry from Team Canada, 2009 Spengler Cup winners Dinamo Minsk of Belarus, second Swiss side and last year's runner up HC Lugano and Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg from central Russia and the KHL.

The sixth and final club this year is the little known Mountfield HK of the Czech Extraliga. The club used to be known as HC Ceske Budejovice prior to relocating to Hradec Kralove in 2013 as the result of a beer sponsorship conflict between the league and the sponsor agreement HC Ceske Budejovice already had in place with their home arena.

Play in Group Torriani saw HC Lugano defeat Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg 4-2. Avtomobilist then lost to Mountfield HK 4-3 after Yekaterinburg led 3-2 entering the third period. The game to decide the group winner and the automatic berth in the semifinals went to Lugano 4-3 after a third period, two goal rally by Mountfield fell short.

Meanwhile, Group Cattini began with Dinamo Minsk hammering Team Canada 7-4 with 4 third period goals after the game was tied 3-3 after two. Team Canada rebounded the next day with a 4-3 win over hosts HC Davos. Minsk had a chance to win the group by getting to overtime against Davos, but fell one goal short as Davos got the win 5-4.

With each team tied with a win and a loss, the tiebreaking formula of goal differential, which went in favor of Minsk thanks to their opening night 3 goal margin of victory over Team Canada. Their one goal defeat by Davos saw them finish group play at +2. With a one goal loss followed by a one goal win, Davos was even and the Canadians could not overcome their three goal loss to Minsk after their narrow one goal win over Davos left them at -2.

The Quarterfinals saw crossover matchups between the second and third place teams in both groups, with HC Davos advancing with a 3-1 win over Yekaterinburg,  while Team Canada had an easy time of it with a 5-1 victory over the Czech side Mountfield.


In the Semifinals, Canada broke out to a 2-0 lead over Dinamo, but Minsk got a goal before the second period was even two minutes old.  Canada went back up by 2 when Chay Genoway scored at 2:29 of the third period. Minsk did get a power play goal with 4:44 left in the game, but NHLer Ben Scrivens held on for an eventual 3-2 Canadian win to avenge their opening day 7-4 defeat at the hands of Dinamo and move on to today's final.

In the other Semifinal between the two Swiss sides, HC Lugano scored goals in each period to punch their ticket to today's final by shutting out hosts Davos 4-0 to set up a rematch of last year's final won by Team Canada.

Today's final between Team Canada and HC Lugano got off to a dramatic start with Dario Burgler stealing one for Lugano just 31 seconds into the game. Genoway got the Canadians on the board at 6:03 to even the score and the entertaining, high tempo first period ended tied at 1-1 after the teams flew up and down the international sized ice sheet in front of the raucous chanting and clapping Swiss fans.

Canada turned the tables with a goal of their own within the first minute of the second period when Marc-Antoine Pouliot slammed in a crossing pass from Jacob Micflikier to put Canada up 2-1. Then, after a great save by Canadian goaltender Zach Fucale while killing a penalty, Corey Emerson went coast to coast to score a dazzling shorthanded goal to put the Canadians up by 2 at 3-1 before Andrew Ebbett crossing in front of the net redirected another great centering pass, this one from Mason Raymond, to extend their lead to 4-1 after two periods.

Lugano was not going away easily though, and
Burglar scored the first goal of the third period and his second of the game from former NHLer James Wisniewski to keep the Swiss side withing striking distance but Fucale held off Lugano for the rest of the game as Lugano outshot Canada 16-11 for the third period. Nick Spaling made the final score 5-2 with an empty net goal with 17 seconds remaining to give Canada their second consecutive and 14th Spengler Cup, leaving them just one back of Davos all-time. Fucale finished with 40 saves.

 photo 2017 Spengler Cup Canada 2.jpg
2017 Spengler Cup champions Team Canada

Today's featured jersey is a 2012 Team Canada Jason Demers jersey as worn when Team Canada won the Spengler Cup when they defeated HC Davos 7-2. Canada's championship in 2012 was the 12th for the Canadians since they began their participation in 1984.

Club teams often wear special jerseys just for the Spengler Cup tournament, resplendent with numerous advertisements of tournament sponsors not normally found on their domestic league jerseys.

Team Canada Spengler Cup 2012 jersey photo TeamCanadaSpenglerCup2012Fjersey.png
 photo TeamCanadaSpenglerCup2012Bjersey.png

Bovine jersey: Today's bovine jersey is a 2013 Spengler Cup Officials Jersey as worn by the referees and linesmen during the 2013 edition of the Spengler Cup. These same jerseys were worn again for the 2014 edition of the tournament as well, but have sadly been retired in favor of traditional stripes in 2015.

Taking the concept of sponsorship a step too far, the Swiss Milk sponsorship goes beyond anything previously seen in the world of ice hockey as the officials customary black and white stripes are replaced by a black and white Holstein cow pattern, compete with a picture of a cow on the front, at the cost of the officials dignity, which one would think would be paramount for them to retain the respect they deserve while officiating high level games of this magnitude.

Udderly bizarre.

Spengler Cup Referee Cow Jersey 2013 photo SpenglerRef2013.jpg
Spengler Cup Referee Cow Jersey 2013 photo SpenglerRefs2013.jpg
Note the red armbands on the referee's jerseys,
as the four officials seem to be taking in all in stride

Today's video segment begins with highlights of HC Davos winning the Spengler Cup in 2000, ending their 38 year drought. Notice the previous version of the championship trophy with the glass globe on top which was used from 1956 to 2009, which is now on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.



Next, a linesman wearing one of the unfortunate cow uniforms while escorting a disqualified player off the ice.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux Alternate Jerseys

Just three days after his dramatic return to the ice after a three and a half year layoff, Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins took to the ice against the Ottawa Senators at The Igloo in Pittsburgh, which was then known as Mellon Arena.

When Lemieux retired following the 1996-97 season, he had appeared in eight NHL All-Star Games, had been named the winner of the Hart Trophy as league MVP three times, the Art Ross Trophy six times as league scoring champion, the Conn Smythe Trophy twice as playoff MVP, the Pearson Award four times, won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, the Bill Masterton Trophy, won two Stanley Cups, had his number retired, been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and defeated cancer, which included scoring a goal and an assist on the day of his last radiation treatment, and then going on to win the 1992-93 scoring title by 12 points despite missing two months of the season and playing two dozen less games than the remainder of the players who finished in the top five in league scoring, Pat Lafontaine, Adam Oates, Steve Yzerman and Teemu Selanne.

At the time of his 1997 retirement, Lemieux had appeared in 745 games with 613 goals and 881 assists for 1,494 points. 

While Lemieux was in retirement, the Penguins fortunes took a nosedive, and the club was some $90 million in debt. The situation became so bad that the club declared bankruptcy and was in danger of relocating or folding altogether. With Lemieux's deferred salary amounting to over $32 million, he was the club's largest creditor and made the unusual proposal to convert the debt the club owed him into equity in the franchise, a proposal approved by the NHL Board of Governors on September 1, 1999. Two days later a U. S. Bankruptcy Court approved the plan, making Lemieux the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Penguins and the first former NHL player to become majority owner of his former team.

 photo Lemieux new owner.jpg
Lemieux is introduced as the Penguins new owner

When the 2000-01 season began, the Penguins were playing average hockey over the course of the first two months of the season, but on December 9th, Lemieux announced his intention to come out of retirement and return to active play.

Several factors led the decision, as he young son Austin was too young to remember having seen him play when he first retired. Additionally, Lemieux was now fully recovered from the back injuries which had plagued his final few seasons when he last played. Also, there was the reality that Lemieux the player was Lemieux the owner's greatest asset.

18 days later, Pittsburgh's record was 15-14-6-1 as Lemieux took to the ice for the first time since April 26, 1997, three years and eight months prior.

During his first game back with the Penguins on December 27, 2000, Lemieux electrified the fans in Pittsburgh with an assist just 33 seconds into the game on a goal by Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr.



Jagr would return the favor, as he would assist on Lemieux's first goal of his comeback followed by Lemieux feeding Jan Hrdina, who converted on a nice play for Lemieux's second assist and third point of the night.

Lemieux returns, Lemieux returns
Lemieux acknowledges the fans after his dramatic return

His three point night upon his return would leave Lemieux at 1,497 career points, while teammate Jagr now stood at 999 points.

The game on this date in Pittsburgh had barely settled in when Peter Schastlivy scored for the Senators just 1:36 into the game when he beat Penguins goaltender Garth Snow.  

At 5:36 of the period, Lemieux hammered a shot from a near impossible angle from the left wing corner. After it hit Senators goaltender Jani Hurme, it somehow squeezed through Hurme and the post and over the goal line, but not before referee Don Van Massenhoven blew the play dead, having lost sight of the puck as it burrowed its way through the Senators goalie, denying Lemieux another point.

 photo Lemieux argues.jpg
Lemieux argues the quick whistle that cost him a goal

Robert Lang countered for Pittsburgh from Martin Straka and Lemieux on a power play at 10:15. Alexei Yashin put the Senators back on top from Shawn McEachern a little over two minutes later but Janne Laukkanen made sure the first period ended even at 2-2 when he put back a rebound just six seconds before the end of the period following a dazzling effort by Straka with the second assist to Hans Jonsson.

Martin Havlat put the Senators back on top when he converted a power play opportunity just 3:49 into the second period from Karl Rachunek and Jamie Rivers.

Lemieux then centered the puck from the left side and Jagr fired the rebound past Senators goaltender Hurme for the 1,000th point of Jagr's career. The assist was Lemieux's second counted point of the night and put him at 1,499.

 

There was no more scoring in the second period and the game entered its final 20 minutes tied at 3-3.

1:28 into the third period, Lemieux fed Jagr again, who converted for his second goal of the night and Lemieux's milestone 1,500th career point.

Lemieux was not finished, however, as he completed the scoring with an empty net goal with just 12 seconds remaining for a final 5-3 margin with assists credited to linemates Jagr and Hrdina.

"That was something special for both of us," Lemieux said about the duo each reaching a career milestone on the same night. "Because we've played so many years together, and accomplished so much."

His four point night gave Lemieux a head shaking seven points in his first two games back after his three and a half year layoff. 

The scary part for the rest of the NHL was, in spite of the apparent chemistry between Jagr and the returning Lemieux, he felt there was more to come. "I think we can get better," Lemieux said. "I think we're still, at times, not sure, especially with [Hrdina]. I'm still not sure what he's going to do. The more we play together, the more we practice ... I think we can be a lot better. And the more conditioning I can get in the next couple of weeks, to take my game to the next level, I think it will help the line a little more."

To put the excellence of Lemieux into perspective, only 11 players in league history reached 1,000 points faster than Jagr's 763 games, while Lemieux only required 747 games to reach 1,500 points!

Lemieux would eventually play 43 games that season, scoring 35 goals and 41 assists for 76 points (1.77 points per game) while Jagr would win the Art Ross Trophy for the fourth consecutive season with 52 goals and 69 assists for 121 points in 81 games (1.49 ppg), one of only two players, along with Joe Sakic (118), to surpass 100 points that season.

Today's first featured jersey is a 2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr jersey as worn the night Jagr scored his 1,000th NHL point. In Lemieux's absence, Jagr became the Penguins captain and wore the "C" from 1998-99 to 2000-01.

Pittsburgh, in a classic case of messing with success, introduced a brand new pair of jerseys immediately after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. The "Robo Penguin" jerseys were never fully embraced by the Penguins fans, as the team failed to return to the Stanley Cup Finals while wearing it. Despite the fact it was not viewed as fondly as it's championship winning predecessor, this style would be used for ten seasons through the 2001-02 season.

After hearing the fans longing for a return to the classic "Skating Penguin" logo, the team introduced a new black alternate jersey for the 2000-01 season, only with an altered color palette, as a pale shade of gold rendered in shiny fabric replaced the classic shade of bright gold used by the Penguins as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL and Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball. The new shade of gold was dubbed Las Vegas Gold.

After two seasons of use as the team's alternate third jersey, it was promoted to being the team's primary road jersey and a new white version became the home jersey. While the main crest was once again the classic Skating Penguin logo, the Robo Penguin remained as the secondary shoulder logos through the 2006-07 season when both jerseys were replaced as the league switched to the new Reebok Edge jerseys for the 2007-08 season.

 photo Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 68 Alt F jersey.jpg
 photo Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 68 Alt B jersey.jpg

Today's second featured jersey is a 2000-01 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jersey as worn during his second game back from his three and a half year retirement when he scored his 1,500th NHL point, making this the first time he had worn this new style Penguins alternate jersey.

This was one of the rare times a Lemieux jersey did not feature the captain's "C" or at least the assistant captain's "A" once Lemieux was named team captain back in 1987. Lemieux would return to the captaincy for the 2001-02 season through the remainder of his career.

 photo Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 66 Alt F jersey_1.jpg
 photo Pittsburgh Penguins 2000-01 66 Alt B jersey.jpg

Today's great video are classic Lemieux moments, focused on his return to the ice in 2000, including highlights from the night he and Jagr both hit their milestone point totals.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The History of NHL Referees Jerseys

unorthodox
Prior to wearing the familiar black and white striped jerseys, NHL referees wore cream colored sweaters, as well as neckties, which made for a quite dapper look. The cream sweaters lasted into the early 1950's.

NHL referee 1930's jersey photo NHLreferee1930sjersey.jpg
The earliest example of an NHL referee sweater we could find,
Sylvio Mantha's from the late 1930's with it's crudely executed NHL crest
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

NHL referee 1940's jersey photo NHLreferee1940sjersey.jpg
A 1940's NHL referee's sweater with a much more accurate NHL crest

Bill Chadwick 1940s NHL referee sweater
Hockey Hall of Famer and first American referee Bill Chadwick wearing a cream colored referees sweater, complete with necktie

Following the cream colored sweaters, in order to differentiate themselves from the home player's white sweaters, NHL referees changed in March of 1953 to a bright orange style with a half zip front, which sadly meant neckties were no longer worn.

Red Storey Orange
Hall of Fame referee Red Dunn tries to maintain order between
Gordie Howe and Ted Kennedy in the early 1950's

1950's NHL orange referee sweater
An orange referee's sweater from the 2005 film
"The Rocket: The Legend of Maurice Richard"

Finally on this date in 1955, NHL on-ice officials wore brand new vertically striped black and white sweaters for the first time ever during a game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, which was won by Montreal 5-2.

1950's NHL referee sweater
1950's NHL referee's sweater
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

At some point the referees began wearing orange arm bands to differentiate themselves from the linesmen, and today's NHL sweaters have remained essentially unchanged since then.

1960's NHL referee's sweater
1960's NHL referee's sweater, now displaying orange armbands
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

While the NHL referees' sweaters had now reached what would essentially be their final look, the World Hockey Association, which arrived on the scene in 1972, did so with a splash, outfitting their referees in bold, if not gaudy, red and white striped sweaters, which featured not only the officials number on the back, but their name as well. Evidence shows linesmen in the WHA still wore the traditional black and white stripes however.

1970's WHA referee's sweater
1970's WHA referee's sweater
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Sometime around 1977, NHL referees began to wear their names on their backs instead of the traditional numbers.

1980's NHL referee's sweater
1980's NHL referee's sweater with the referee's name
on the back rather than the traditional numbers
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

The use of names on the back lasted until a return to the use of numbers once again for the 1994-95 season.

1994-95 NHL referee  uniform photo 1994-95NHLrefereeuniform.jpg
Don Van Massenhoven's 1994-95 NHL referee's jersey
with numbers once again on the back
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

NHL rules stipulate that referees have to wear numbers between 2 and 49, while linesmen can choose numbers from 50 to 98, with #1 and #99 not being permitted.

2000's NHL referee's sweater
2000's NHL referee's sweater
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

There has been some tinkering of the referee's sweaters as of late, with black undersides to the sleeves, as well as an ill-fated attempt to change the orange armbands to silver for the 2007-08 season in an attempt to tie in with the new silver and black colors of the new NHL shield. With the silver armbands proving essentially invisible, this idea thankfully died a quick and quiet death.

NHL silver referee arm stripes
See if you can spot the silver referee's arm stripes

The latest tweak to the sweaters arrived at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, when new fabrics and additional black trim were added to the sweaters, as well as extending the orange arm bands down the length of the bottom of the arms, which are visible when the referee's arm is fully raised. These sweaters were adopted full time and have been in use starting with the 2009-10 season.

NHL Referee 2009 photo NHLReferee2009.jpg
2009 NHL referee's sweater

At times officials have worn patches on their jerseys, such as the league-wide patches for the Stanley Cup Centennial, as is the case with today's featured jersey. There have also been instances of referees wearing memorial patches as well. In the 1989-90 season, officials wore the initials "J. McC." on their sweaters to memorialize John McCauley, the director of NHL officiating who passed away in June 1989. In 2005-06 NHL officials wore a #72 patch in memory of linseman Stephane Provost who passed away in May 2005 due to a motorcycle accident.

Another notable referee's jersey was worn during the 2000 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, when the teams wore futuristic jerseys inspired by the millennium, which carried over to the referee's jerseys. They featured a vertical orange stripe down the left side of the jersey, both front and back, with the 2000 All-Star Game patch centered over the stripe on the right chest.

2000 NHL All-Star Game referee
A referee sweater from the 2000 NHL All-Star Game with a
vertical orange stripe on the body along with the traditional armbands

The cream colored sweaters were revived during the 1991-92 NHL season whenever two of the Original 6 teams played against each other while wearing their Turn Back the Clock jerseys, as well as that season's NHL All-Star Game, when both teams wore throwback jerseys in recognition of the NHL's 75th anniversary.

Ray Scampinello NHL Referee 1991-92 photo NHLReferee1991-92.jpg
Ray Scampinello wearing a 1991-92 NHL throwback referee sweater

The cream throwback sweaters were also put back into service during the first NHL outdoor event, 2003's Heritage Classic when the Montreal Canadiens legends took on a team of Edmonton Oilers legends, with both teams wearing throwback jerseys and the officials once more got into the spirit of the event with turn back the clock sweaters of their own.

2003 Heritage Classic referee
2003 Heritage Classic referee Andy Van Hellemond

The next outing for the cream colored throwbacks was an appearance at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game in St. Paul, Minnesota when the referee's joined in with the players throwback jersey look, only this time with the All-Star Game patch on the upper right chest but without the need for the toques!
2004 NHL All-Star Referee sweaters
The referee's  throwback sweaters were worn again
at the 2004 NHL All-Star Game

Unlike the clean look of referee's sweaters in the NHL, the referee's sweaters in European hockey are viewed as prime real estate for advertisements, such as the sponsorship worn by referee's at the IIHF World Championships in the 2000's.

IIHF World Championships referee
A Referee at the IIHF World Championships with sponsorship on his sweater

Not even the traditional vertical stripes of the referee's sweaters are considered sacred in European leagues!

European referee
European league referee with an unorthodox striping pattern

 photo KHL referee jersey.jpg
The current jerseys worn by referees in the KHL also feature a
unique striping pattern and advertizing

Today's featured jersey is a 1992-93 NHL referee Andy Van Hellemond jersey. This uniform was worn during the era of referees wearing their names on the backs of their jerseys from the late 1970's to the mid-1990's.

This jersey also features the Stanley Cup Centennial patch as worn on not only all the players jerseys in 1992-93, but also the referees' sweaters, located on the upper right arm as opposed to the upper left chest of the players jerseys.

Van Hellemond began officiating NHL games in 1969 and continued to do so until his retirement in 1996, a span of 28 years, which included 19 Stanley Cup Finals. He became the first on-ice official to wear a helmet in 1984, something which became mandatory in 2006-07.

Van Hellemond was the director of NHL officiating from 2000 to 2004 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999.

Andy Van Hellemond referee's sweater
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Bonus jersey:  Today's bonus jersey is a 1990's NHL Linesman Roy Scapinello jersey from the era of referees wearing their names on the backs of their jerseys from the late 1970's to the mid-1990's.

The only difference between the referee jerseys and those worn by the linesmen is the lack of the orange arm bands, which were introduced sometime back in the late 1950's or early 1960's.

1990's NHL linesman jersey photo 1990sNHLlinesmanjersey.jpg
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 2008-09 IIHF Linesman Tom Darnell jersey as worn at the World Men's Division I Group A tournament in Vilnius, Lithuania which features the predominant sponsorship from the AJ Products Group of home and office supplies and equipment.

No personal identification such as names or numbers were used during this tournament, but the on ice officials often do have an identifying number above the sponsorship patch on the back.


 photo IIHF 2008-09 Linesman F jersey.jpg
 photo IIHF 2008-09 Linesman B jersey.jpg
 photo IIHF 2008-09 Linesman P jersey.jpg

Bovine jersey: Today's bovine jersey is a 2013 Spengler Cup Officials Jersey as worn by the referees and linesmen during the 2013 edition of the Spengler Cup. These same jerseys were worn again for the 2014 edition of the tournament as well, but were sadly retired in favor of traditional stripes in 2015.

Taking the concept of sponsorship a step too far, the Swiss Milk sponsorship goes beyond anything previously seen in the world of ice hockey as the officials customary black and white stripes are replaced by a black and white Holstein cow pattern, compete with a picture of a cow on the front, at the cost of the officials dignity, which one would think would be paramount for them to retain the respect they deserve while officiating high level games of this magnitude.

Udderly bizarre.

Spengler Cup Referee Cow Jersey 2013 photo SpenglerRef2013.jpg
Spengler Cup Referee Cow Jersey 2013 photo SpenglerRefs2013.jpg
Note the red armbands on the referee's jerseys,
as the four officials seem to be taking in all in stride

Our video section today pays tribute to referee's and linesmen and the risky job it can be on the ice with the array of sticks, pucks, skates and even fists they must try to avoid, sometimes unsuccessfully.




Several NHL referees and linesmen have written books about their careers from their unique point of view. To purchase one of them, please click on the links below.

  
  
 

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