With 68 days left to the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced the on-ice officials who will work the men's and women's Olympic ice hockey tournaments.
Leading the list is Canadian Bill McCreary, the dean of NHL referees, who is going to his third Olympic tournament. The 54-year old Guelph, Canada native officiated in Nagano 1998 where he called the gold medal game between the Czech Republic and Russia (1-0). He also officiated the gold medal game four years later in Salt Lake City, Canada – United States (5-2).
The men's tournament will be called by 14 referees (seven from NHL) and 14 linesmen (six from NHL). NHL referees have been part of the Olympic on-ice officials' crews since Nagano 1998.
Danny Kurmann (Switzerland) is also going to his third Olympics. For Dennis LaRue (USA) it will be even his fourth Olympics. They both worked in Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin 2006 while LaRue also officiated in Calgary 1988. Canadian Marc Joannette (NHL) officiated at the 1997 IIHF World Championship in Finland. He was at that time an IIHF referee.
Vancouver 2010 will be the first Olympic ice hockey event where the men's tournament will be officiated with the four-man system. The women’s games will be officiated with one referee, and two linesmen.
The women's tournament includes six referees and nine linesmen. British referee Joy Tottman and Swedish linesman Annica Floedén are returnees from Turin 2006.
The Olympic ice hockey tournament in Vancouver is played according to the IIHF Rule Book, on a North American rink surface (Canada Hockey Place and UBC Thunderbird Arena).
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday