NHLOA Alumni
Hockey Hall of Fame Logo

NHL Official: 1956 to 1979

Regular Season: 1727 Games (Linesman)

Playoffs: 245 Games

Hall of Fame Induction: 1987

M.I. (Matt) Pavelich

By the time he was 20, Matt Pavelich was referee-in-chief of the Northern Michigan Intermediate League, but that should come as no surprise. He had held the whistle since he was 14, officiating minor hockey games and working his way quickly up through the ranks. He worked in the American League in 1955-56, and his poise so impressed the NHL’s ref-in-chief, Carl Voss, that Pavelich was in the NHL the next fall, making his debut on October 11, 1956.

While his older brother Marty had been with the Red Wings as a player since 1947, the pair were the first to be a part of the NHL in this unique tandem. Matt’s inauguration into the officials’ ranks was particularly unpleasant during the playoffs of his first year, a game in the Detroit Olympia. Red Wings fans had a penchant for throwing octopi on the ice, and this game was no exception, but Pavelich, as junior of the three officials, was responsible for clearing the ice of the heavy, ugly creature, a task he performed with requisite disgust while his colleagues enjoyed themselves at his expense.

By the time Pavelich retired, 31 years had passed. His 1,727 regular season games is second only to Neil Armstrong, and his 245 playoff games is also second, to John D’Amico. When he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987, it marked the first time the Hall had expanded nominees to include not only referees but also linesmen. Matt Pavelich later became the NHL’s supervisor of officials for referee-in-chief Scotty Morrison.

All-Star Games


Vancouver All Star Game

Pacific Coliseum
January 25, 1977

1974 -- CHICAGO, IL

Chicago All Star Game

Chicago Stadium
January 29, 1974


Minnesota All Star Game

Met Center
January 25, 1972

1970 -- ST. LOUIS, MO

St Louis All Star Game

CSt. Louis Arena
January 20, 1970

1969 -- MONTREAL, PQ

All Star Game

Montreal Forum
January 21, 1969

1967 -- MONTREAL, PQ

Montreal All Star Game

Montreal Forum
January 18, 1967

1965 -- MONTREAL, PQ

All Star Game

Montreal Forum
October 20, 1965

1964 -- TORONTO, ON

All Star Game

Maple Leaf Gardens
October 10, 1964

1963 -- TORONTO, ON

All Star Game

Maple Leaf Gardens
October 05, 1963

1962 -- TORONTO, ON

All Star Game

Maple Leaf Gardens
October 06, 1962