This month a historic event took place at an uneventful hockey game. The date was Monday, March 9, 2015 and the teams were the Detroit Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers. I know if you were one of the fans of the teams playing, then the game was important. But did you noticed the new referee? The one with the accent and the unfamiliar face?
Welcome to the NHL, Evgeny Romasko! He is the first Russian born referee to work in the NHL. Born in Tver, Russia (northeast of Moscow) Romasko has a lot of experience on the ice; 295 regular season games and 15 play-off games in the KHL and 32 games in the AHL. He also refereed the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and the Gold Medal game at the 2013 World Under-18 Championship. He does have the experience but does he have what it takes to handle the NHL level? He was noticed by Steven Walkom, NHL Vice President and director of Officiating. Does he have what it takes to be a great ref? The NHL believes he does. Romasko has the experience, skills and his own “hockey sense” on the ice. He can also skate really well and has the confidence to enforce the rules in a game. He can be on the ice without being in the spotlight. He looks like he was born to stand on the ice between players racing past him at 25 mph while pucks shoot past at 100 mph. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to add, he is still young(ish) at 33 years old. The league has asked him to work 1,000 games, a career decision.
As a fan of the game are you ready for a Russian referee? I know I am.