Veteran referee Van Massenhoven officiates final game

Apr 5, 10:31 AM

Long-time NHL referee Don Van Massenhoven officiated his final game on Friday in Detroit.

The Red Wings 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres was Van Massenhoven's final regular season assignment, ending a career that spanned more than 20 years.

The 53-year-old worked 1,278 regular season games and 87 playoff games. He also officiated the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo, the 2006 Torino Olympics, the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, and the 2002 All-Star Game.

The Strathroy, Ont., native was happy to end his career close to where it began.

"Detroit is close to my home, which makes it easier for family and friends," Van Massenhoven told "A lot of the teams have great buildings, but it's cool to go to the Joe."

Van Massenhoven was officiating on Nov. 21, 2005, when Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer suffered a seizure on the bench and was given CPR before being rushed to the hospital. 

The veteran referee postponed the remainder of the game after the incident.

Van Massenhoven served with the Ontario Provincial Police for 10 years before joining the NHL.

He says he hasn't yet taken time to reflect on his career.

"I really haven't had a lot of time to think about it," he said. "With the amount of texts and calls I'm getting from colleagues, that gets a little emotional."

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Rick Osentoski