By Michael Barrett, Illinois Referee-in-Chief & Supervisor of Officials
The 2015-2016 season is now complete and we are moving into the next phase of ice hockey – Spring!
While the youth level fall season is now complete, the NHL season continues on towards the playoffs. And while I could write all day long about the Chicago Blackhawks and their winning ways, I would like to take some time to write about someone who is planning on a retirement of sorts.
The person to whom I am referring is Andy McElman. Some of you may know Andy personally outside of hockey. But I would bet a lot of you met Andy through his generous devotion of time to the IHOA community while he has appeared at IHOA seminars and while he has participated as a mentor and evaluator for Illinois officials.
Andy retired from his career as an NHL Linesman on April 3, 2016. Andy’s NHL career spans 23 years and 1500 NHL Games from 1993-2016 and includes playoff games, the Winter Classic in Wrigley Field and the European NHL Premier Games. In addition to his NHL experiences, Andy worked as an official in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Andy grew up right here in Illinois (Palatine) where he started ice hockey as a player and ultimately began officiating at 12 years of age. Through his hard work and dedication to the art of officiating, he developed as an official in Illinois and progressed through the minor leagues and the USA Hockey programs and was eventually scouted by the NHL. Andy’s first NHL game was October 7, 1993, in St. Louis when the Blues played Florida.
When asked about his experiences as an NHL Official, Andy said this: “It has been an honor to work with the finest on-ice officials in the world. The group that goes on the ice every night is like no other team. We hold each other up to the NHL standard. We support each other as we officiate the most competitive and athletic sport on the planet. It has been a great ride working in the NHL and when the time comes I will surely miss it. My 1500th and last game is scheduled for April 3rd in Chicago against Boston. That day will be an emotional day!!!! Officiating hockey has taken me all over the world and allowed me to work at the highest level, doing what I love for a game I love. It just doesn’t get better than that!”
Andy was inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.
I know Andy would say the following to all officials (because I have heard him say it many times): “Remember…work hard, have fun and be safe out there!”
Congratulations to Andy for a tremendous career!