One of Terry Gregson's tasks as the NHL's Director of Officiating will be to entice a new generation of officials to don the striped shirt.
"We need to work more with Hockey Canada and USA Hockey to get the word out that officiating is a great way to stay involved in the game," he said. "If you talk to former junior and college players, they often say, 'Gee, I never thought about that.' So, we want to reach out. We want to get people to talk about officiating and the positions that are available."
And there is opportunity in the field.
"Now not everyone will make a career of it, but we can't use a four-man system in the AHL and juniors now because we need more officials. It is an integral part of our game.
"I would like to see 15- and 16-year-old kids try it in practice and see if they like it. We have people looking for that kind of potential."
-- Phil Coffey
Terry Gregson, who spent 25 years as an NHL referee, was named the League's Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Tuesday. In his new position, Gregson, who officiated 1,427 regular-season and 158 Stanley Cup Playoff games, will assume overall management of the officiating staff.
"I've watched and been a part of the direction the game has taken in the last four years and have been excited to be a part of it," Gregson told NHL.com. "We're going to stay the course. It is a great opportunity to continue on and keep things going in the right direction."
NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said Gregson, who was the senior officiating manager under Stephen Walkom, will enable the League's officials to enjoy a smooth transition in leadership.
"Terry Gregson has worked with Stephen Walkom for the last four years and is very familiar with our program," Campbell told NHL.com. "Plus, he was an excellent on-ice referee. With Terry moving into this role, the transition will be almost seamless."
"The standard has been upheld and will be upheld," Gregson promised. "But now it is a new season and we have to begin all over again with getting the new guys acquainted with the standard."
Much has changed since Gregson's on-ice career, especially in terms of officiating.
"What we have now is more black and white," said Gregson, who officiated in eight Stanley Cup Final series. "When I refereed, we used to judge the degree of an action, whether the slash or the hold really affected play or changed control of the puck. We used to say 'Ah, that wasn't that bad.'
"Now, a player will be penalized. Now, we're not in the business of judging degrees. There is less gray than there used to be."
And now there is video, something Gregson did not enjoy the benefit of during his many years on the ice.
"Video has helped a great deal, especially with goals," he said. "There were times during my career when you made a call on a goal and it was still coming back to haunt you two days later. Now, with the 'war room' in Toronto and the video replay people in the arenas, we are able to get it right.
"Goals are the thing in our game and video replay has helped us narrow down problems there. Video takes some of the pressure off, although we still want our guys to make the calls as they see them. Video is here to stay.
"Video also is a good teaching tool (for officials), but you have to use it properly. You just can't send an official clips of calls you would like to see done differently. That defeats the purpose. You also have to point out their great calls because they make a lot of great calls."
I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.
— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh