NHL Official: 1977 to 2009

Birthplace: Dartmouth, NS

Regular Season: 1719 Games (Referee)

Playoffs: 246 Games

Stanley Cup Finals: 11

Don Koharski

Don Koharski (born December 2, 1955) is a retired professional ice hockey referee in the National Hockey League. He currently resides in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, with whom he has two sons. Starting with the 1994–95 NHL season, he wore uniform number 12, and, since the 1987–88 NHL season, he wore a helmet while refereeing NHL games.

Officiating career

Koharski began his officiating career in the World Hockey Association in 1975, as a 19-year-old linesman. (He is the final player or official from the WHA to be involved in professional hockey in an on-ice capacity.) In 1976, he was signed by the American Hockey League while working with a local dairy farm, for which he was milking cows. He began his NHL career in 1977 as a linesman, before moving to the referee role in 1980.

Entering the 2005–06 season, Koharski had officiated over 1,400 regular season games, 235 playoff games, thirteen Stanley Cup Finals, two All-Star Games, two Canada Cups, and the 2004 World Cup. He was the league’s second-most senior official, behind only referee Kerry Fraser.[1] On April 8, 2006, Koharski reached the 1,500-regular-season-game milestone when he officiated a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.[2]

During the NHL player lockout of 2004–05, Koharski officiated a charity game between former players from the United Hockey League, as part of their All-Star Game festivities.[3]

On March 24, 2009, it was announced that Koharski would retire as an NHL referee at the end of the 2008–09 NHL season; however, he will stay on with the NHL in a supervisory or instructional position.[4]

His son Jamie and brother Terry also worked as referees in various leagues, including the USHLECHL and AHL. Jamie retired in 2016 after a 12-season career in the AHL and now serves as an advisor for the ECHL and USA Hockey’s Officiating Development Program, while Terry remains active in the AHL. In 2020, his daughter in law, Liz Sylvia Koharski, became the 17th woman to have her name engraved on the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning

In total, he officiated 1,719 regular season games and 248 playoff games.

All-Star Games

2000 -- TORONTO, ON

Air Canada Center
February 06, 2000


January 18, 1992

Stanley Cup Finals

2002 Stanley Cup

2000 Stanley Cup

1999 Stanley Cup

1998 Stanley Cup

1996 Stanley Cup

1992 Stanley Cup

1991 Stanley Cup

1990 Stanley Cup

1988 Stanley Cup

1987 Stanley Cup

1986 Stanley Cup


2004 World Cup of Hockey