Tonight, AHL/NHL referee Chris Schlenker from Medicine Hat, Alberta will be working his first Regular Season NHL Game when the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center in Montreal QC.
He will be joined on the ice by fellow referee Brad Meier while linesmen Steve Miller and Trent Knorr will be working the lines.
Chris played in the WHL for four years with the Regina Pats. After his WHL career was over, he played professional hockey in Germany for a year before returning home to become a police officer. The 31-year-old has been a member of the force for 10 years but the game never truly left him. When a friend asked him to be a linesman for one of his games as a favour, he jumped at the chance. In order to pursue a career in officiating, Schlenker had to balance his police work with the game. He began his officiating career with one year of senior hockey before he was able to return to the WHL. Schlenker worked three years in the WHL where he found support from fellow referee, Devin Klein, a 20-year veteran of the WHL and a police officer like Schlenker. Last season, Schlenker was awarded the Allen Paradice Memorial Trophy as the best referee in the WHL and was named to the officiating crew for the 2016 Memorial Cup. As well, he got his feet wet refereeing professionals by working 60 games in the AHL.
The NHLOA and its members would like to congratulate Chris on his first NHL game and wish him a long and successful career.