Jets, Wild Pay Respects to Retiring Official

One of the most thankless jobs in professional sports is the referee. Their job is to officiate the game in front of them to their best ability within the confines of the rules.

In hockey there’s two different types of officials: referees and linesmen. The referees are the ones wearing the orange armbands and are responsible for calling goals and penalties. Other duties such as icing, off-sides, and breaking up fights are up to the linesmen. Lineys – a slang term for linesmen – often go unnoticed and take a beating against the boards from players checking each other and from flying pucks in the neutral zone.

The NHL said goodbye to two long-serving linesmen Sunday. Brad Lazarowich and Andy McElman combined for 51 years and 3,455 games of NHL experience.

Lazarowich, a 53-year-old Vancouver native ended his career Sunday in Winnipeg- the same city where his NHL career began Oct. 9, 1986. Sunday was his 1,956th regular season game working between the blue lines, coming just short of being the sixth man to work 2,000 regular season games. He could have reached that mark easily this season if it weren’t for an torn tricep while officiating the Nov. 4 Pittsburgh- Vancouver game that kept him off the ice for three months. He finishes the season with 12 games, far fewer than the 60+ games officials with similar experience have under their belt this season.

After the Wild suffered a 5-1 defeat against the Jets, players started to line up in front of the penalty boxes to shake hands with Lazarowich. After the Minnesota players and coaches finished, the Winnipeg players joined in, which made it a pretty special moment on the ice.

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