-- Veteran NHL referee and Halifax native Don Koharski officiated his 1,719th and final NHL game last night, when the Tampa Bay Lightning
played host to the Washington Capitals
at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL, the National Hockey League announced today.
"Koho has had an outstanding career as an NHL referee which spanned an impressive 28 plus seasons. The respect he has garnered is reflected in his relationships with players, coaches and teammates," said Stephen Walkom, NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating. "His love of playing hockey led him to officiating, which he turned into a hall of fame career, much to the benefit of our team. Koho's innate sense of the game will serve our team well as he continues to assist the Officiating Department throughout the playoffs."
Koharski began his NHL career in 1977 as a linesman, fresh from the World Hockey Association (WHA) where he started officiating at the age of 18. His first NHL game was a match between the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Maple Leafs
in the 18-team NHL. He worked 163 NHL games as a linesman before becoming a referee.
On Nov. 21, 1981, Koharski refereed his first NHL game -- a contest between the Rockies of the Smythe Division and the Patrick Division’s Washington Capitals
. Last night, the man affectionately known as "Koho" capped that distinguished career that had merited selection to work 262 playoff games -- including those in 11 Stanley Cup Final series.
Koharski also represented the NHL on the international stage with assignments at the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cup competitions and the 2004 World Cup. He also worked the 1992 All-Star Game in Philadelphia and the 2000 All-Star Game in Toronto.
Don looks forward to spending more time on the golf course and at home in Dade City, FL, with his family.