NHL, AHL extend officiating agreement

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today announced a new four-year officiating development agreement with the National Hockey League which will continue to see the AHL serve as the top development league for the NHL’s referees through 2022-23.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the NHL and AHL officiating departments will continue to work together in all aspects of recruitment, training and development of on-ice officials. There will be an increased investment in training opportunities for AHL referees and linesmen with full access to NHL training resources and personnel.

As contemplated in the recently expired agreement, the AHL now utilizes two referees in all regular-season and Calder Cup Playoff games. Moving forward, slightly over one-quarter of those assignments will be worked by NHL-contracted referees, with the balance worked by AHL-contracted referees who have been identified as top officiating prospects.

“The AHL remains committed to providing our players and fans with the best officiating outside the NHL, while also establishing a path for young officials to develop and reach the National Hockey League,” said AHL President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews. “This new officiating agreement with the NHL allows us to continue furthering those goals.”

“We are very pleased to announce the continuation of our long-standing agreement with the American Hockey League, which supports and promotes the training and development of our best young officials,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “And, in this regard, we extend our special thanks to AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews for his consistently open-minded approach to considering and embracing new ideas for the betterment of our development framework, which enhance the quality of officiating in both our leagues. There is no doubt that our arrangements and relationship with the AHL, as our primary partner in development, remain critical in developing the best hockey officials in the world.”

The American Hockey League has served as the top development league for NHL on-ice officials since its earliest days, with every current National Hockey League referee having worked in the AHL. In operation since 1936, the AHL is also the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame came through the AHL.