Tonight, South Boston native referee Chris Rooney will be celebrating his 1,000th NHL Regular Season Game in Boston MA when the Washington Capitals will play the hometown Bruins. Rooney who worked his official 1,000th game at the end of last season will be joined on the ice for this milestone by fellow referee Ian Walsh while Brian Murphy and Derek Amell will handle the lines.
Rooney is a proud alumnus of the USA Hockey Development Program. He was hired under a minor league referee contract with the National Hockey League in the summer of 1999 at the age of 24. He would go on and spend three seasons in the minors before being promoted to a full time NHL referee status in the summer of 2002. He worked his first NHL Regular Season Game on November 22nd 2000 at the old Philips Arena in Atlanta when the Tampa Bay Lightning were in town to play the now defunct Trashers. Rooney wore sweater number 21 in his early years as a full time NHL referee but agreed to switch to number 5 when former NHL referee and now NHLOA Alumni Don Van Massenhoven asked him to trade their numbers. His early success as an NHL referee was rewarded in the spring of 2003 when he was selected to work the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His NHL Playoffs debut came on April 14th 2003 in Uniondale NY when the Ottawa Senators visited the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum. Rooney also had the privilege to be selected twice to work the prestigious Stanley Cup Finals; in 2012 (Kings vs Devils) & in 2013 (Blackhawks vs Bruins). Some of his career highlights include working the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston (Flyers vs Bruins), the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus OH. The Massachusetts native was also selected to work the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto but an injury sustained during his fitness tests (torn Achilles tendon) at the NHL Officials Training Camp a couple of weeks before the start of the tournament had him sidelined for the competition and half of the following season. Chris is married to his wife Lisa and has two beautiful twin boys named Cole and Logan. He still calls Boston MA his hometown.
The NHLOA would like to congratulate referee Chris Rooney for this milestone and wish him good luck in the upcoming season.