The National Hockey League’s 2020-21 season has already seen realignment for the teams, and it sounds like the same fate awaits officials across the league.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the NHL has reportedly put together a plan in order to divide up its officials, with one group set to handle the all-Canadian North Division.
If this was a normal season without a pandemic or shortened calendar spread across four distinct division, every official would work a handful of games in each arena across the league. All referees and linesmen see every team - but forget it for 2020-21!
While referees and linesmen are spread out across the US and Canada, they are also located near a metropolitan area to ensure coverage and assist with their rigorous travel schedules. This will surely affect where they will be posted for this season and its many restrictions and guidelines.
Dreger believes that some officials could be asked to cross the border to work games. However, they will need to quarantine. That’s why it is believes many teams will see the same officials a lot.
"There will be a stable of officials designated to the North Division. There could be officials asked to cross the border to work games. They would have to quarantine. Teams will see the same officials a lot. Best of a tough situation."
It will be interesting to see which official gets assigned to what division and teams. We all know that the crowd in Canada is very picky about its preferred officials for games. While we all love a good ole Wes McCauley to make the calls during the game, the Winnipeg Jets are known to have its doubts when it comes to Francois St. Laurent or the love between the Montreal Canadiens and Chris Lee…
Let’s see which teams they get assigned and we will see how fans react. The good thing for these officials is that with less people in the attendance, they won’t get booed as much!