Tonight, Brandon Blandina from Colorado Springs, CO will be working his first NHL Regular Season game at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York city when the Rangers will be hosting the Detroit Red Wings. He will be joined on the ice by referee Chris Lee while linesmen Tony Sericolo and Tim Nowak will be working the lines.
Blandina who was born in Colorado Spring, CO grew up not too far from there in Centennial, CO where he played his minor hockey. The former forward reached the United States Hockey League (USHL) at the age of 18 when he dressed up for the Indiana Ice during the 2007-2008 season. After his one-year stint in the USHL, Blandina went on to play for the Robert Morris University hockey team over the course of the following four seasons (2008-2012). He graduated in the spring of 2012 from Robert Morris with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management. He spent the following two seasons in the East Coast Hockey League, playing the 2012-13 season with the Elmira Jackals and the 2013-14 season with the Reading Royals. Once his playing days were over in the summer of 2014, he decided to start an off-ice hockey training center in Pittsburgh, PA, a way for him to stay involved in the game while teaching younger athletes the core essentials of hockey skating and stride technique. His passion for the game also pushed him to get involved as a hockey assistant coach that year when he joined the Pittsburgh Pens Elite Girl 14U team. He would return at Robert Morris University in the fall of 2016, but this time as a volunteer assistant coach while still running his off-ice hockey training facility. That same season, still trying to get involved in the game as much as he could, he began officiating minor hockey games around the Pittsburgh area. Blandina who played at Robert Morris University with AHL/NHL referee Furman South, decided in the summer of 2017 to attend the NHL Officials Exposure Combine, trying to replicate the path of his ex-teammate South, who attended the Combine a few years before and where he ended up being hired by the National Hockey League as an official. The NHL as been hosting these annual camps since 2012, offering a path for former college and professional hockey players to become high level professional hockey officials at a faster pace. He spent the following season working games in the North American Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL) and in the American Hockey League (AHL). He attended the NHL Officials Exposure Combine for a second time in the summer of 2018 where he made again great impression on the NHL recruiting staff who offered him this time a minor leagues referee contract making him the second alumnus from Robert Morris University to be hired by the NHL after referee Furman South.
The NHLOA and its members would like to congratulate Brandon on his first NHL game and wish him a long and successful career.