MONTREAL -- Referee Marc Joannette has come a long way and will be honored for that journey about three miles from where it began.
Joannette grew up in the Montreal borough of Verdun, a block away from his friend and current NHL linesman Pierre Racicot and near Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.
Joannette would go to Racicot's house to play hockey on his backyard rink, and when they were teenagers they would often ride the city bus together to the local arena to officiate minor hockey games in the mid-1980s.
In May 2008, Joannette and Racicot boarded a plane together to fly to Detroit. Joannette was on his way to officiate his first game in the Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 of the series between the Red Wings and Penguins.