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All-Star Game officiating crew has hometown appeal @NHLdotcom
NEW YORK (Jan. 19, 2009) -- The Montreal neighborhood of Verdun will have more than the hometown Canadiens to cheer for when the puck drops at the 57th NHL All-Star Game at Montreal's Bell Centre, Sunday, Jan. 25 (6 p.m., ET, CBC, RDS, VERSUS, NHL Radio), as two native sons -- referee Marc Joanette and linesman Pierre Racicot -- are among the four-man officiating crew named today by the League to work the game.

Joanette and Racicot will be joined by referee Brad Meier and linesman Greg Devorski. Each will be making his All-Star Game debut.

Joanette, 40, and Racicot, 41, grew up one block apart and began their careers refereeing minor hockey games in Verdun, a 10-minute drive from Bell Centre and home to dozens of NHL players over the decades. The pair has combined for more than 1,500 regular-season games' experience (Racicot 1,005, Joanette 551) and each realized a career goal by working his first Stanley Cup Final game on May 26, 2008, when the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena.

Meier, 41, was born in Dayton, Ohio and moved to Saskatchewan, where he began his officiating career with the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association at the age of 12 refereeing his younger brother's games. The nine-year NHL veteran has worked 550 career regular-season games and boasts an extensive international resume that includes the 1995 World Junior Championships hosted by Red Deer, Alta., the 1996 World Championships in Vienna and the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano.

Devorski, 39, is the product of an officiating family -- his father Bill was a referee for 35 years in the Ontario Hockey Association and brother Paul is an NHL referee. His hometown of Guelph, Ontario is renowned for developing a group of distinguished officials that also includes current NHL referee Bill McCreary and 2008 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Ray Scapinello. Devorski has worked 968 career regular-season games and lists among his career highlights the assignments for the gold medal game in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey between Canada and Finland and Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final between the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers.
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