NHL promotes referees from AHL ranks

The National Hockey League has announced the promotion of Wes McCauley and Dan O’Rourke, two of its top American Hockey League officials, to full-time status as NHL referees for the 2005-06 season.

McCauley, 33, played four seasons at Michigan State and was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1990. The Toronto native began officiating in Ontario before he was hired by the National Hockey League to work in the AHL in 2001. McCauley’s AHL highlights included officiating in the Calder Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005.

The son of the late NHL referee and director of officiating John McCauley, Wes made his NHL debut in 2003.

Dan O’Rourke worked three straight Calder Cup Finals (2003-05) and the 2004 AHL All-Star Game.

O’Rourke, 32, started officiating in the NHL’s development program in 1999 as a linesman, working the 2000 Calder Cup Finals. He spent the next season in the NHL, then returned to the AHL in 2001 to train as a referee.

O’Rourke was again selected to work the Calder Cup Finals, this time as referee, in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and was the referee for the 2004 AHL All-Star Game in Grand Rapids.

Entering its 70th season this fall, the American Hockey League continues to serve as a development ground for National Hockey League players, coaches, executives, officials and front-office personnel alike. More than 80 percent of all current NHL players have skated in the AHL in their careers.