Bill McCreary has seen it all over nearly three decades of officiating NHL games. Ghislain Hebert is still a neophyte hoping to carve out his own career in a demanding and rewarding profession.
The two referees will be the subject of an original documentary set to air on the NHL Network. The broadcast premiere of "Behind the Stripes: A Ref's Life" will debut on Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The 30-minute original documentary was produced by the NHL’s Officiating Department and NHL Network and will also air on June 14 at 11 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET.
"Behind the Stripes: A Ref's Life" documents the personal journey of McCreary and Hebert with a behind the scenes look at their profession. They share their on- and off-ice experiences, challenges and accomplishments during the 2009-10 season.
McCreary, 54, began his NHL career on November 3, 1984 (New Jersey at Washington) and has officiated more than 1,650 regular season games, 300 playoff games and 15 Stanley Cup Final series, including two games in this year’s battle between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers.
The Guelph, Ontario native has also officiated some of the most prestigious international hockey events, including the 1998, 2002 and 2010 Olympics, 1991 Canada Cup tournament and 1994 NHL All-Star Game.
Hebert, 29, a native of Bathurst, New-Brunswick, officiated his first NHL game during the 2008-09 NHL season and has since called 10 more games. He started his officiating career in the Bathurst and Moncton minor hockey associations and worked in the QMJHL as a linesman before moving to refereeing. He has also worked as a full time referee in the ECHL and AHL. His international resume includes the IIHF World University Championships and the World Under-17 championships.
The NHL Officiating Department hosts an annual recruitment session, NHL Exposure, in August to introduce young hockey players to the prospect of officiating. This documentary was produced to encourage young men and women to consider officiating as a part-time or even full-time profession.