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01-15-2013, 07:28 PM
Hope for better 2015
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Vote for a Ray Scapinello Division, to be named after the longest serving on-ice official in NHL history (1971-2004), a staggering 33 years on the ice, including twenty Stanley Cup championship series.

He also wrote a great hockey history book: Between the Lines: Not-So-Tall Tales From Ray "Scampy" Scapinello's Four Decades in the NHL (2006).

He became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008:

To hear his fellow NHL officials, coaches and players tell it, "Scampy' was always in the right place at the right time.

Scapinello, 62, is being honored because he set all the records for NHL linesmen: 33 seasons, 2,500 consecutive games and 426 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was chosen for the playoffs in only his second season, 1972, and continued every year until he retired in 2004. He never missed an assignment in his career.

"Ray has all the records," said longtime linesman Kevin Collins. "He's the Wayne Gretzky of officiating. He achieved things that no one will be able to surpass. That shows his longevity and his ability to stay fit. He was always professional and this honor reflects the respect that people in the League had for him."


"Game 7, Stanley Cup Final, Rangers vs. Canucks. The buildup was intense and the stage was Madison Square Garden," Scapinello recalled. "You know that at 10:05 p.m., or so, someone is going to skate off with the Stanley Cup and someone is going to go home bitterly disappointed. The pressure is unbelievable.

"I was worried to death right up until we went on the ice and then, you're a professional, you're in your element, doing what you do and I just went on auto-pilot. Bryan Lewis, the referee-in-chief, put his trust in us, but until then, I had no idea of the pressure that I would feel that night.

"Ray was an outstanding guy to work with, although we didn't work a lot of games during the regular seasons," Collins said. "We were paired in a lot of Stanley Cup Playoff games. I had the feeling of security in knowing that all I had to do was my job because he had his job taken care off. He always had your back. It was a comfortable feeling being out there and knowing the job would get done well."
"I had to take that from the president of the league because of Ray, who wrote in his book that he was 'vertically challenged.' Ray and I had some fun," Morrison said.


Scapinello "lined" many international tournaments, but his biggest thrill came at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Naturally, he was on the ice when Petr Svoboda scored the winning goal to give the Czech Republic gold.

"The one that sticks in my mind is the 1998 Winter Olympics, the first time the NHL participated," Scapinello said. "I was one of the ones chosen to go to the Olympics and it was a real honor. We had a meeting with the IIHF to go over the different rules and situations and they had a rule that officials had to wear helmets. I never wore one in my career. So, I raised my hand and said, 'Mr. (Rene) Fassel, I don't wear a helmet,' and he said then I wouldn't officiate the Olympics. I told him, 'I wear a medium.'

He became somewhat invisible to players who had known him for years.

"I remember I was dropping a puck down in the corner and just as I started to drop it, I hear a whistle. It's my partner and he indicated someone was encroaching. It was Chris Chelios and he was in 3 or 4 feet. I waved him back out of the circle. I get ready to drop again, take a quick look, and there's Chelios again. I say, "Geez, Chris, come on, back up.' And then I hear him say, 'Is that you, Scampy?' It was the third period. He didn't even know I was in the game.

"The big moment though was getting to do the gold medal game between Russia and the Czech Republic. Dominik Hasek stood on his head and stole that game for the Czechs, an absolutely great performance and an honor for me to be there, doing that game.

"One of my best international experiences was after Igor Larionov retired and held his retirement game the next year in Moscow," Scapinello said. "He put together two All-Stars teams, North America vs. Russia. Well, one night in New York, Igor approached me and asked me if I would officiate in this game. I was so honored and to think now that we'll be going into the Hockey Hall of Fame together. Life has really been great.

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