Linesman Don Henderson Still Out with Concussion

Don Henderson, who was on the wrong side of a blindside hit from Dennis Wideman last month is still suffering from lingering back problems and concussion-like symptoms.

The 47-year-old linesman who has worked over 1,200 games since the 1994-95 season will likely not return this season and might have to retire. The Calgary native currently the longest-serving linesman in the league.

Wideman was suspended 20 games for the hit and this week Gary Bettman upheld the appeal in a 22-page report. According to the report, the most damming evidence against Wideman was a text message sent to a teammate that read  “the only reason I’m here is cause the stupid refs and stupid media.”

According to Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun, the NHL Officials Association has been urging Henderson to retire for quite some time before the hit. This incident along with the unknown recovery time frame and impending arbitration for reinstement from Wideman can expedite his retirement.

Several sources told the Sun that Henderson had been feeling pressure from the NHL Officials Association long before the hit to retire as the association has been trying to get some of its older members to exit the game like 53-year-olds Mike Cvik and Rob Martell did earlier this year. Henderson’s concussion could potentially expedite that process, meaning there’s a chance he’s officiated his last game.

If that’s the case, the NHL would surely feel even more confident the stiff suspension was justified, making him a poster boy for the perils of abuse of officials.

Eric Francis, Calgary Sun

That would be an unfortunate way to end a career on the ice. Even if Henderson doesn’t officiate in the NHL again, we hope for the best in that he can live a normal life without concussion-like symptoms.

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