Maritime referee makes NHL debut in Philadelphia
Published Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:20PM AST
Another Maritimer has made his debut in the National Hockey League.
Last Thursday, a referee from Truro, N.S. officiated his first NHL game in Philadelphia.
“It was just the thrill of a lifetime,” says Jon McIsaac. “I mean, a little nervous at first, obviously, but it seemed to go away pretty quick, a lot quicker than I thought.”
McIsaac began refereeing when he was a teenager, along with his older brother Jamie.
“Like every kid growing up, I wanted to play in the NHL and it just happened that it didn’t work. I was playing split time between midget and junior when I was 15 when I started refereeing,” says McIsaac.
Fifteen years of hard work in the minors led to McIsaac getting the call for his first regular-season game in the NHL. The veteran crew treated him with champagne after the game.
Close to 20 friends and family members made the trip to Philadelphia to share in the experience.
“Of course I didn’t see the game, I just saw Jon doing his job, paid no attention to the hockey at all,” says McIsaac’s mother-in-law Colleen Pinkney.
McIsaac’s father Bill gets emotional when he thinks about his son’s magical night.
“It was very exciting,” he says. “I don’t think I seen any of the game for the first ten minutes, my eyes were right filled up.”
Exactly one year earlier, McIsaac’s biggest fan - his mother Joan - passed away.
“It switched the day around,” says McIsaac. “It went from a negative day in my life, to a very positive day. I think that is why I wasn’t so nervous on the ice as well. I think she was there helping me.”
McIsaac’s next NHL assignment is on December 16 and will have a special Nova Scotia connection. He will be officiating a game between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche – Nathan MacKinnon’s team – in Denver.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh