The Washington Capitals Fan Club invited linesmen Bryan Pancich and David Brisebois and referee Francois StLaurent to field questions from Club members about officiating hockey games. The discussion was fairly candid as they explained the challenge of enforcing the rules and issuing penalties as well as the pride they have in their jobs.
- They spoke about the coaches challenge–the final decision rests with them not Toronto as many people believe. Toronto provides technical support in the decision-making processes.
- One thing they stressed was that one of their greatest concerns is the safety of the players and they do what they can to find that balance between “making the game safe” and keeping the game exciting for the fans.
They travel throughout the NHL spending much of their time away from their families. They all started playing hockey and their dreams turned to playing with a whistle. They love the sport as much as we do and they said they have no team allegiance or bias. And yes, they see the signs and they hear calls and they love the fan engagement!! After meeting them in their suits we had a whole lot more respect for them when we saw them later on the ice!
Check out the Fan Club to become a member and to attend more great events like this in the future. Watch for their newsletter with more details about the meeting with the refs.