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NHL Officials

Longevity Lessons from Jaromir Jagr

Paul Stewart | Posted 06.01.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Recently, I saw a quote from Jaromir that really struck home with me. Jagr has been known to skate at midnight after playing in games. He outworks much younger teammates in the gym and adheres to a training regimen that borders on the surreal. That is why he's still around.

Run the Clock and Shut Your Mouth

Paul Stewart | Posted 05.25.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

At the professional levels, there are regular crews who work the league that oversee operations and the penalty and game clocks. These folks are invaluable to us on-ice officials, and very often they spot things that the officials -- and even the coaches -- miss.

A Ref's Favorite Team? I Love 'Em All

Paul Stewart | Posted 05.18.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

You know something I've never seen? I've never seen a referee or linesman who is "biased" toward or against a particular team. I would say so if it was otherwise, and probably would have to be physically separated from the SOB if we were in the same place at the same time.

Win Some, Lose Some

Paul Stewart | Posted 05.11.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Over the course of my officiating career in the NHL, I ran afoul of my bosses for a variety of reasons. Among the sillier reasons that I caught flak: my late father's briefcase, a roller bag, cowboy boots, a tuxedo, a quote, parking in New Haven, and a "bet" for charity.

Checks and Balances: Empathy for the Tough Guy

Paul Stewart | Posted 05.04.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

As a player, my ticket to reaching the NHL and WHA was my toughness and work ethic. As an official, I respected the people who performed the policeman role because I knew just how difficult and misunderstood that job really is.

A Little Mental Clorox Does the Trick

Paul Stewart | Posted 04.27.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

When officials put on their equipment, they should take out of their bags an invisible bottle of Clorox. Before they head out to the rink, they should magically soak their brains and bleach out any preexisting thoughts about the game.

U.S. and Russia: Hockey Is Our Common Friend

Paul Stewart | Posted 04.21.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Everyday language is rife with pitfalls and easy misunderstands. One of the beautiful things about hockey is that the sport -- like art or music -- is a universal language. It's something we can appreciate, love, support and nurture.

Winter Hockey Travel: 'It Snow Joke'

Paul Stewart | Posted 04.13.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Having been in this sport for 40 years and involved in officiating since the 1980s, I have been to a couple of funerals for guys who didn't make it to games while trying to fight the elements.

We Need More Like Pat Dapuzzo, Fewer Like Pierre McGuire

Paul Stewart | Posted 03.30.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

One of the areas where I believe forward-thinking NHL teams could tap into an under-used knowledge base is by considering longtime officials for decision-making roles in their scouting departments and/or front offices. Why not?

Want to Get Rid of the Zac Rinaldo Types? Hold Their Coaches Accountable

Paul Stewart | Posted 03.24.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Come Monday, the NHL will hand down a suspension to Rinaldo, who apparently opted for phone hearing instead of an in-person hearing. That means a suspension of at least five games is likely. So what? Nothing will change.

Successful NHL Officiating: 5 Keys for Refs, 5 Keys for Linesmen

Paul Stewart | Posted 03.10.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Over the years, many aspiring hockey officials have asked me what I think the biggest keys are to being an effective referee or linesman. It is a subject that I have given constant thought to over the years, and I frequently discuss many of the key elements.

Attention to Detail in the NHL: Good Position in Transition

Paul Stewart | Posted 02.16.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

One of the things I look at when I observe officiating teams is how they handle transitions. This is every bit as important to good officiating work as puck support on the forecheck or backcheck is to playing winning hockey on the ice.

Working Through Injuries a Way of Life for Officials, Too

Paul Stewart | Posted 01.26.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Hockey players are renowned for their ability to play through injuries that would sideline athletes in most other sports. Sometimes discretion really ought to be the better part of valor, but that's rarely been the "hockey way" of doing things.

Arbitres Sans Frontieres: The Glass Ceiling for NHL Francophone Officials

Paul Stewart | Posted 01.19.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

For American and Francophone officials in the NHL, there is still very much a glass ceiling. There are still subtle limits on the upper mobility even of the (still) relatively few who even get into the officiating rank-and-file.

From the Ice to the Stage: So You Think You Might Like to Go to the Show

Paul Stewart | Posted 01.12.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

One of the most frequently voiced claims my critics have thrown at me over the years is that I "thought I was the show" on the ice. That has always stuck in my craw because it was flat out false. People mistook my natural enthusiasm and assertiveness for showboating.

Make Haste, Make Mistakes: Officiating in the NHL

Paul Stewart | Posted 01.05.2015 | Sports
Paul Stewart

One of the biggest mistakes any official can make is being too hasty to make a call. It can happen to anyone, including a veteran, but this is a learning experience that almost everyone goes through in his or her career: When you make haste, you make mistakes.

Godspeed to Gordie

Paul Stewart | Posted 12.29.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Along with the rest of the hockey world and the countless people whose lives Gordie Howe has touched either directly or indirectly, my thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Hockey and the entire First Family of Hockey after Gordie suffered a serious stroke on Sunday morning.

The Montreal Factor: Fact or Fiction?

Paul Stewart | Posted 12.22.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

One of the great debates among NHL fans is whether certain referees tend to favor or go out of their way to penalize a specific team. Many fans think -- and some are truly convinced in their hearts -- that the officials are "out to get" their favorite team.

Hockey Fights Cancer: My Story

Paul Stewart | Posted 12.15.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

October is hockey's official Hockey Fights Cancer month with special awareness nights held in every NHL arena. As someone with a deeply personal connection to the cause, I did not want to let the opportunity pass to acknowledge the important awareness the NHL has done.

Jump in the Fire: My Opening Night in the NHL

Paul Stewart | Posted 12.08.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Every player, coach and referee who has ever appeared in the NHL has his own story to tell about his first game in the League. The tale of my first game reffing in the NHL is an unconventional one. That's par for the course with me.

Going to the D.O.Gs: Taking the Judgment Out of Delay of Game Rules

Paul Stewart | Posted 12.01.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Over the years, there have been numerous attempts by the game's powers that be to reduce the amount of criticism that officials get subjected to. You know what they say about where the road paved by good intentions often leads.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel May Be You

Paul Stewart | Posted 11.24.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

After many years, I am finally starting to figure out what my impact is and why I have lasted so long in this sport and this world after being counted out by others more times than I care to remember or count.

Officiating Machines (or Back to Humans)

Paul Stewart | Posted 11.17.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

In my post-active career as an officiating supervisor and trainer, I have absolutely seen officials whom I can instantly tell are letting fear control them rather than confronting that fear by letting the game take shape and calling it accordingly.

Before You Accuse, Learn the Rules

Paul Stewart | Posted 11.04.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

I can't tell you how many games I see over the course of a season where plays happen and the national and local announcers and in-studio hosts act like they are puzzled as to why certain calls get made the way they do or why penalties are meted out in specific ways.

Fox Didn't Give a Puck

Paul Stewart | Posted 10.27.2014 | Sports
Paul Stewart

Whenever I'd work a game in a city, I'd keep one game puck as a souvenir. Over the years, I assembled a pretty big collection of pucks from locales around the NHL and a host of other leagues. The puck collecting became an enjoyable little game for me.