This month's featured official is Ryan Daisy
Daisy is from Mansfield, Mass. but went to school at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. He played hockey until his sophomore year of high school where he decided to focus on other aspects of the game. He began refereeing local high schools in Connecticut during his junior year of university. The 28-year-old linesman was then invited to a USA Hockey Officiating Development Camp and caught the eye of NAHL’s Coordinator of Officials, Chris Allman. He was hired on the spot and worked in the NAHL until he graduated. After his senior year he was promoted to the USHL where he spent one year, and then promoted again to the ECHL, spending three years learning to officiate professionals. He spent the entire 2015-16 season working the American Hockey League where he was selected to work the 2016 Calder Cup Final. The phone call finally came in the summer of 2016 when he was offered an NHL linesman minor league contract (40/40). Daisy was promoted to an NHL full time linesman status in the summer of 2017.
We asked Ryan some questions:
How old are you?
I am 30 years old
Where were you born?
Born in Newton, MA. Raised in Mansfield MA
How did you learn you were hired by the NHL?
July 1, 2016. A day I’ll never forget. I was out in Denver, CO for a great friend of mine and member of our team Tom Chmielewski’s wedding. The day before his wedding a large group of family and friends were playing golf. Tom and I were paired together on the back nine. On the 11th tee box I received an email from Taryn Daneman informing me that Stephen Walkom wanted to have me in the Toronto office for a meeting on July 6th. On July 6, I met with Stephen Walkom and Al Kimmel and was offered a job with the NHL.
What is the best part of the job?
The list doesn’t end. Being on the ice with best athletes in the world, sharing the ice as a teammate with the best officials in the world is an incredible feeling.
What is the worst part of this job?
Been thinking hard about this one. Still can’t find an answer.
What was your journey like to the NHL? What leagues did you work previously?
My journey started six years before I was hired. My senior year of college I was officiating Tier 3 junior hockey across the northeast. After graduating college I went and worked in the United States Hockey League for two seasons. The first year I lived in Omaha, NE followed by a year in Des Moines, IA. After the USHL, I spent three seasons working full time in the ECHL(living in Reading, PA for one season and Toledo, OH for the following two seasons) while working some in the AHL. The last year I lived in Chicago, IL working full time in the AHL.
Do you have a nickname within the group?
Can you name some mentors, current and past, who have helped you in your journey to the NHL?
First off my family. With the support and encouragement from my family I was able to focus on chasing down my dream for six years. I can’t thank them enough. Ken Tucker was a hockey coach of mine who opened the doors to officiating. Gene Binda gave me the opportunity to work endless hockey in Massachusetts. USA Hockey’s officiating program provided the necessary coaching in order to develop and move onto higher levels of hockey. Joe Ernst and Brian Murphy have both played a pivotal role in my journey. These men have shown me what it takes to make it to the highest level.
What is your most memorable game you have worked so far?
My first regular season game October 13, 2016 Boston vs Columbus in Columbus, OH. You only have one first game. I remember taking the time during the national anthem, looking around at the sold out crowd, realizing I’m on the ice with the best athletes and best officials in the world. All of the hard work and sacrifice over the years hit me in that moment.
What are some of the challenges involved in officiating at this level?
The speed and intensity. Being on the ice at this level everything happens so fast and every pass, shot, and hit is with a purpose. The challenges this game brings on a nightly basis is what makes it fun and exciting. You can’t afford to take a shift off and have to fight hard to get the right sightline in order to make the right call.
Do you have any advice for young officials?
Enjoy the game you’re working. Take pride in working hard, and live in the moment. It’s great to have long term goals, but if you’re always looking forward then you’ll miss what’s going on in the present.
What is your jersey number? Any significance or reason you picked it?
81. No significance
Do you have any superstitions?
I wouldn’t say I have any superstitions, but I do like to follow my game day routine.
Describe your typical game day routine
If I’m not working back to back nights in different cities then my game day routine is pretty much the same all season long. Waking up and having breakfast in the hotel with my teammates around 8am. It’s a good time to relax, drink some coffee and catch up with the guys, especially since some guys you’ll only see once or twice a season. I head to the gym around 10am for an hour to hour and a half workout. Lunch with the crew is typically at 12 or 12:30pm in which we start talking about the matchup later that night. We typically have a couple hours or so post lunch and I take this time to relax and get a pre game nap in. We show up to the arena an hour and half before puck drop then its time to get to work.