Friday, March 21, 2008

Who is the best NHL referee?

Maybe in offering an option on the question we should ask who is the average referee? Analysis of stats at National Hockey League Officials Association web site shows that the average NHL Referee is 42 years old and has been working NHL games for 13 seasons. In that time, on average, he has officiated 565 regular season games and 46 playoff games. The average guy works 39 games per year. There is a 5 in 6 chance he is Canadian born. If he isn’t a Canadian, he is one of the five American born active referees.

The at the top end of the experience scale Kerry Fraser is the most senior referee. Kerry, and his hair, have been policing the NHL for 34 years, has worked 1700 regular season games and 257 playoff games. Don Koharski has 30 years with Bill McCreary and Dan Marouelli both having 25 years. Fraser, Koharski and McCreary all have over 200 playoff games on their resume. Marouelli is not far behind with 179.

Kerry Fraser over his career has averaged 58 games per season. McCreary has the highest average with 70 games per year over his 25 years. Marouelli and Koharski also have similar stats at 64 and 61 games per year respectively. In addition, Don VanMassenhoven, in a 15 year career is currently at a 62 games per year.

The NHL is said to have a ranking system for their officials. Obviously this information is not made public. We do know, however, that playoff assignments are determined by these league maintained rankings. Given the records, McCreary and Koharski should have the highest rankings as they have the highest percentage of playoff games to total games. There are four referees with similar stats in this area. Kerry Fraser is one of the other two, plus a new name to this analysis Kevin Pollock. Pollock has only 10 years of experience which is less than the average. Yet in those 10 years Pollock has been assigned to 68 playoff games. Paul Devorski and Brad Watson join Marouelli in a second tier group just below the four mentioned above.

So who is the best referee? I have no idea. And, keep in mind, the numbers above represent only currently active referees. Using the associations statistics and what we know of league policy, Bill McCreary and Kevin Pollock must have the highest rankings with Don Koharski, Kerry Fraser and Dan Marouelli not too far behind.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:38 pm

    I dunno - I think your Vancouver boy Kelly Sutherland is pretty good. He's solid - and young. An advantage for sure.