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Referee takes puck to face during Red Wings Bruins game but doesn't miss a shift...

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Why don't hockey refs wear protection?!


"The equipment that NHL officials use has undergone astounding changes over the years. Wally Harris, an National Hockey League referee from 1963 to 1983 and supervisor of officials from 1985 to 2002, has certainly seen a change in officiating equipment from his early days in the league to today. “When I started, we wore a set of foam basketball knee pads to cover our knees and a set of thin soccer style shin pads to protect our shins. Along with a cup, that is the only protective equipment we had under our uniform.” Harris said. 

“The style of play was different in the NHL back then, you should realize,” Harris explained, “It was more of a possession game. The dump and chase style was not used as it is today. Players possessed the puck longer back then, unlike today where pucks are ripped high and hard off of the glass in an effort to clear the puck out of the zone. It is a wonder today’s officials are not injured more the way the puck flies around out there.” 

Back in those days, they wore no thigh pads, no hip pads, no elbow pads, no helmet, no visor. “We took some vicious hits from players, some wicked shots from pucks and sometimes they hurt like heck but we tried our best not to show the pain.”  


“Our uniform sweaters were different than they are today, different materials. Today a linesman gets some blood on a sweater from breaking up a fight, he can run it under a faucet and the blood will immediately wash away. When I was working I do not remember a night that I did not have to soak my sweater overnight in the hotel sink to get the stains out.” A gruesome thought, but it was a fact of life for officials of that era."

"It is a wonder today's officials are not injured more." <--- understatement

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