NHL referee Kevin Pollock reached an important milestone Saturday evening at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY by officiating the game between the Boston Bruins and the hometown Sabres. Saturday’s game was Kevin’s 1,500th NHL regular season game as a referee, a journey that only a few others have accomplished in the history of the league. Fellow referee Wes McCauley and linesmen Steve Barton and Andrew Smith had the honor of working this special assignment with him. Pollock’s NHL career started over 22 years ago, back on March 28th, 2000 when he officiated his first regular season game in Nashville, a matchup featuring the New York Islanders and the Nashville Predators.
Pollock was born in Kincardine, a small town on the shore of Lake Huron, Ontario. The former defenseman played all of his minor hockey in his hometown and his journey as an official started at the young age of 12. His father Clarke was heavily involved into officiating which gave him an appreciation for the men wearing the black and white uniforms. During his first few years as an official, Kevin worked a lot of minor hockey games, mostly all around Kincardine. He would also be asked at times to work the lines for his dad and other senior referees in the WOAA senior loop.
After spending a couple of seasons in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) in the early 90’s, Pollock went on to work the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for three seasons as a linesman (1993 to 1996). He was also hired during that time to work the Colonial Hockey League (COHL); first as a linesman for his first season (1994-1995) before becoming a referee in his second campaign. His passion and dedication for officiating pushed him to accept a full-time referee position with the ECHL in the summer of 1996. He spent a total of two seasons with the ECHL where he was selected both times to work the Kelly Cup Finals. He returned to the OHL in the summer of 1998, but this time wearing the orange bands. His hot streak kept going and the following spring he was selected to work the prestigious Memorial Cup in Ottawa (1999). His performance during the spring tournament earned him to be assigned to work the Championship game. Kevin was also under the NHL training program from 1997 to 1999.
The National Hockey League recognized his talent and potential in the summer of 1999 when they offered him a NHL minor league contract as a referee. Pollock only worked under the minor league status for one season before being promoted to a full-time NHL referee contract in the summer of 2000.
Since 2000, Pollock has worked several important assignments including; the inaugural Heritage Classic outdoor game held in Edmonton on November 22, 2003 (MTL vs EDM), the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game held in Raleigh, the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA (MTL vs BOS), the 2018 Stadium Series played at the Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis MD (TOR vs WSH). He was also selected twice to work the Stanley Cup Finals; 2015 (TBL Vs CHI) and 2017 (NSH vs PIT). The man wearing jersey no.33 worked his 1,000th NHL Regular Season game on March 29th, 2015 in Pittsburgh (SJS vs PIT).
The NHLOA would like to congratulate referee Kevin Pollock for reaching this incredible milestone. Well done KP!