This afternoon, NHL linesman Tommy Hughes will be working his first NHL Regular Season game in Buffalo, NY when the Florida Panthers will be visiting the hometown Sabres. The London, Ontario native will be joined on the ice by veteran referees Chris Lee and Dan O’Rourke while linesman Shandor Alphonso will be working the lines with him.
Born in London, Ontario, Hughes grew up playing minor hockey for the London Jr Knights. At the age of 17, Tommy accomplished one of his childhood’s dream when he signed as a free agent with his hometown Ontario Hockey League (OHL) London Knights. He played parts of 4 seasons in London, winning two OHL championships and making the trip to the Memorial Cup Tournament twice during that span. Following his time with the Knights, Hughes signed an entry level contract with the New York Rangers as a free agent. He played a total of 4 seasons in the Rangers system dressing up for the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Following his time in Hartford he also spent time in Hershey (AHL), in Nottingham (British Elite Ice Hockey League – EIHL) and in Charleston (ECHL) where he wrapped up his 7 years pro hockey career.
After he stopped playing hockey, his friend and fellow NHL linesman Kyle Flemington convinced him to apply and attend the 2021 NHL Officiating Exposure Combine where he got his first taste of being an official. The experience inspired him to pursue officiating and was he was offered positions in the OHL and AHL during the 2021-22 season. After a successful season of working the CHL top prospects game, officiating the OHL Championship series and the Calder Cup playoffs, Tommy was offered a full-time NHL linesman contract in the summer of 2022.
The NHLOA and its members would like to congratulate Tommy on his first NHL Regular Season Game and wish him a long and successful career.