The National Hockey League pushed through its change to how coaches’ challenges to goalie interference will be handled, taking the final call away from the on-ice officials.
Beginning Wednesday, the league will assign a former referee to be present in the Situation Room in Toronto during all games. With the addition of those former referees, the Situation Room will consult with the on-ice officials — but have taken over the right to make the final call on goalie interference.
The hope is that a smaller circle of decision-makers will provide greater consistency. Thus far the biggest complaint around the NHL is that coaches and players simply do not know what constitutes goaltender interference, and the consistency of the calls has varied too widely.
Sportsnet has learned those former NHL officials are: Don Van Massenhoven, Bill McCreary, Paul Devorski and Rob Shick. Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom, who refereed 600-plus regular-season games, an Olympics, a World Cup and two Stanley Cup Finals, will also be eligible to fill the chair this spring.
With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, that group should get the NHL through to the summertime. Expect a few more ex-referees to be added for the 2018-19 regular season.