I know the NHL refs and linesmen get a ton of shit. And I'm certainly guilty of piling on from time to time. But I've also noted how tough and thankless their jobs are and that they're essential to running any hockey league/game. After this regular season, the NHL is losing three referees and one linesman.
It didn't start this year but we have recently seen whole teams embracing pending retirees at the conclusion of games and it's been pretty cool to see. It's a classy recognition of the guys and their careers. Not to mention it confirms that these guys are all a part of the same show even if they bitch at each other a bunch.
I was also wondering why we started seeing these send-offs a couple of months before the conclusion of the regular season. As shitty as Twitter can be these days, it's still a great spot to get a quick answer.
Huh, I never realized retiring guys don't work the playoffs. Wonder why that is. Either way, I've been fortunate enough to have a few pops with some of these guys over the years (RIPIP An Tain). They were all good dudes who bust their balls and do the job the best they can. And having a few retired guys on Twitter has been informative and they provide insight we don't get from players.
These guys also suck it up when they get dinged up.
And they give it right back to guys when they get told to go fuck themselves.
They also get hot laps in their debut games just like players.
It's a bit of a love/hate thing with players and officials but when all is said and done, the players appreciate them.