When talking about legendary NHL referees, you just have to mention Don Van Massenhoven. He started as a police officer but then changed his field of work completely. Instead, he began telling people what to do and deciding between wrong and right on the ice. And he stayed for a long, long time.
His NHL career started during the 1993-93 season, and he lasted in the league way until 2014 when he officiated his last game. ’Donny’ can look back at a career with over 1300 NHL games, the 2006 Olympics, the 2004 World Cup, and many memories.
Van Massenhoven officiated some of the most legendary players ever to play the game, and with that came some memorable moments. One of the most special moments of his career, and probably of his life, was back in 2010 when he hit the 1,000 games mark in a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The legendary referee was honored before the game, and afterward, he’s recalled, Sidney Crosby came in to hand over a signed stick as a gesture of gratitude. But that’s not all.
When Don guested The Hockey Illuminati podcast, he revealed that legendary player Bill Guerin surprised him with a special gesture after the game.
Bill Guerin was actually still playing, and playing with the Pens. Him and I had some battle on the ice, and Billy got get pretty intense,” he says.
”He came down after the game with a plastic bag and walked in with a six-pack of beer. He said, ”I’m gonna have a beer with you, Donny. We’ve been battling over the years. Now let’s just sit and have a beer.”
”So that’s the kind of people we officiate in the NHL.”