Tonight, Libor Suchanek from Stod, Czech Republic will become the first European-trained linesman to jump across the pond to work an NHL Regular Season tonight in Brooklyn, NY when the Carolina Hurricanes will be playing the Islanders. He will be joined on the ice by referees Dave Jackson and Kendrick Nicholson while veteran linesman Brad Kovachik will be working the lines with him.
The Mechanical Engineer by trade, a University of West Bohemia (Plzen, Czech Republic) graduate, started officiating when he was 15 around his hometown in Czech Republic. After grinding his teeth for a couple of years, learning the craft of officiating in various amateur leagues at local rinks around the town of Plzen, Suchanek reached the Czech Junior Leagues (U18 & U20) in September 2007. The following season, he continued to work the junior leagues but was also promoted to the Second Czech Republic National Hockey League, which his the third highest hockey league over there, under the top league (Extraliga) and the First Czech Republic National Hockey League also known as the WSM Liga since 2015. He reached the WSM Liga League in the fall of 2009 and spent four full seasons working at that level. Suchanek then reached the top Czech Republic League by joining the Extraliga in the beginning of the 2013-14 season. His on-ice performance was acknowledged by the IIHF when he received his international license in 2014. He quickly worked his way up the international officiating ranks, his international resume include the 2015 U18 Division III World Championship (Taipei,Taiwan), the 2016 U18 World Championship (Grand Forks ND, USA), the 2016 Karjala Tournament (Finland & Czech Republic), the 2017 World Juniors Championship (U20) played in Montreal and Toronto, Canada and the prestigious 2017 IIHF World Championship Tournament hosted by Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. Suchanek was also part of the officiating crew that worked the World Cup of Hockey in 2016 (Toronto & Montreal, Canada) when he officiated an exhibition game between Russia and Czech Republic. During his 12 years officiating journey to the NHL, he also skated in the Champion Hockey League, games between the best European teams (2014 to 2017) and the Euro Hockey Tour, a competition between European National teams (2014 to 2017). His first real taste of North American Professional hockey came in February 2017 when he was invited to travel to Toronto, Canada to showcase his skills by working in three American Hockey League games while being evaluated by the NHL Officiating Department. His performance were rewarded in the summer of 2017 when he was hired under a minor leagues linesman contract by the National Hockey League at age 28.
The NHLOA and its members would like to congratulate Libor on his first NHL Regular Season Game and wish him a long and successful career.