Tonight, Winnipeg, MB native linesman Vaughan Rody will be celebrating his 1,000th NHL Regular Season Game in Winnipeg when the Vancouver Canucks will play the hometown Jets. Rody who worked his official 1,000th game last season (February 19th, 2017) will be joined on the ice for this milestone by fellow referees Ian Walsh and Tom Kowal while veteran linesman Lonnie Cameron will be his partner on the lines.
Rody like most of the Canadian kids played hockey growing up dreaming of making the NHL. His playing career ended at age 17 and by then he was already into his third season as a hockey official. He started out at the age of 14 working for six and seven year olds to stay involved in the great game of hockey and earning a few bucks. He quickly climbed the officiating ranks of the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association. Then at the age of 24, he took a leave of absence from his job in Winnipeg and hoping to increase his chance to make the NHL Officiating Team accepted a Full Time WHL Linesman job and moved to the Seattle area to begin working the Western Hockey League. The WHL job paid sparingly so he also took a job at Boeing as an Inspector on the 777 program, his shifts would start at 5:18AM and end at 1:18PM, he then would drive to his games at various locations throughout Washington State and return late that evening for work the next morning. He would go on and work a total of 10 years in the WHL and 6 at Boeing before getting the long due phone call from the National Hockey League offering him an NHL full-time linesman contract at the age of 30. Rody made his NHL debut in Anaheim, CA on October 8th, 2000 when the St. Louis Blues were in town to play the then Mighty Ducks. His on-ice performances were quickly acknowledged and rewarded when he was selected to work the Stanley Cup Playoffs after just two full NHL seasons. He made his first playoffs appearance on April 18th, 2002 in Denver, CO, officiating a game between the hometown Avalanche and the visiting Los Angeles Kings. Then a decade later, on November 2013, while skating in a game in Raleigh, N.C., Rody got bumped from behind by a player on an innocent play in front of the net hitting his left side. He knew right away that something was not right but continued working for another two months, going thru pain and discomfort trying to save his season. He would find himself on the surgical table in February 2014 to repair a herniated disk, a procedure called laminectomy, in which they remove part of the vertebral bone. A few weeks later now pain-free and hitting the gym full-speed to get back at work, he had his eyes on a special assignment; he was assigned to work the 2014 NHL Heritage Classic in Vancouver B.C., a great chance for his kids to see him work a showcase game. This is when it went from bad to worse for the man who wears jersey number 73. Spinal fluid had seeped from his spine and one of his discs collapsed leaving him with a rotary listhesis, having no other choice but to have to go into surgery again for a spinal fusion in July of 2014 just to be able to walk, if the spinal fusion wasn’t enough, he faced the challenge of having his spinal fusion infected in the surgery which caused Vaughan to spend 6 Weeks in the Seattle/ Everett Disease Center where he underwent his 3rd back surgery and ongoing intravenous IV antibiotic treatments to try and clear the infection up. After a long recovery and a challenging rehab, Rody made it back to the show on February 13th, 2015 a little over a year after he last skated in an NHL game in Vancouver. Things only got better from then as he was assigned to work the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville the following season. Then, in the fall of 2016, Rody was assigned to another NHL Heritage Classic game, one that he would actually end up working, this time in his hometown of Winnipeg, MB making this even more special. On February 19th, 2017, Rody became only the third Winnipegger after former referees Andy Van Hellemond and Rob Martel to reach the 1,000 NHL Regular Season Games milestone when working a game in Vancouver. He decided to celebrate his milestone the following season (December 11th, 2017) in his hometown of Winnipeg with family and friends. Rody has two children, Bryson and Owen and still resides Lake Stevens, WA.
The NHLOA would like to congratulate linesman Vaughan Rody for this milestone and wish him the best for the remaining of the season.