NHLOA Member since 1999
|Regular Season:||1142 Games (Referee)|
* Game numbers updated as of April 07, 2019
The Philadelphia native, who is a proud alumnus of the USA Hockey Development Program started skating at the age of six years old and played hockey until the Midget level. He first picked up a whistle at the age of 15 working games around his hometown of Philadelphia. His dad, Bill suggested to him that it would be a great way to make some money and stay connected to the game he loved. His dad was also an official and the area’s assigner so he made sure he put himself with Ian during that inaugural season. In years soon to come, Walsh officiated with certain select guys his dad paired him with, now referring to it as a “mentoring program before there was actually a formal mentoring program”. “It definitely paid dividends” Walsh said. Walsh really got into officiating and made it a goal of his during an Eastern Regional USA Hockey Officiating Camp he attended at the age of 19, a weekend filled with on-ice sessions, classroom and seminars geared toward improving officials performance. The following two seasons, Walsh moved on to work in the United States Hockey League (USHL), considered back then to be the top junior league in the country, now the only nation’s Tier I junior league. He continued his ascension to the top in the next two seasons by reaching first the Central Hockey League (CHL) and then the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). In the summer of 1996, Walsh was identify as one of the 25 on-ice officials by the NHL for their defunct trainee program, having him working games in the ECHL, International Hockey League (IHL), all three Canadian Major Junior League (WHL, OHL & QJMHL) and to top it off the American Hockey League (AHL). He was part of this trainee program for three seasons logging a lot of driving and air miles and countless hotel nights working more than 100 games in each of those seasons. His hard work and on-ice performance were rewarded in the summer of 1999 when Ian was hired by the NHL under a minor league referee contract. Then the big day came at the age of 28, on October 14th 2000, when he was assigned to work his first NHL Regular Season Game between the Anaheim Ducks and the New Jersey Devils at the old Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford,NJ. Because of the proximity of this first game and his hometown, Walsh was able to have as guests there that night his dad, mom, officiating friends and other family members making that evening even more special! Then on April 16th 2009, Walsh became the first referee from the Atlantic District to work in a Stanley Cup Playoff game when he called the Game 1 between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings game in the Western Conference Quaterfinals at the old Joe Louis Arena. NHLOA Alumni, Pat Dapuzzo who is also a product of the Atlantic District had previously work the NHL Playoffs but as a linesman. Well respected by his peers, he has been voted to serve on the NHLOA Executive since 2015.