They Get No Respect: The Best of the Worst NHL Referees

Scott FitzsimmonsAnalyst IJuly 18, 2008

Fans of ANY sport know what it's like for a referee to make a call that baffles even the swiftest minds. We aren't at the same vantage point of the referees, and we aren't trying to keep up with the entire play. But, we as fans have every right to question the calls that referees make.

I have watched a million and a half NHL games in my life, and I have seen my share of referee gaffes. I was born into a family that hated referees. Maybe not hated, my dad couldn't hate anyone, but he definitely loved to harass them. If you were at a Flames game and heard, "Hey ref! Shake your head, your eyes are stuck!", that was probably my Dad.

So, I have decided to compile a list of MY top 3 "Worst NHL Referees".

It seems that certain referees officiate some teams more than others. I may not have seen refs of other eras make gaffes in their day. This is just my list. If you have any that stand out, please let me know.

Honorable Mention - Kerry Fraser

Kerry makes my list because of my Dad. This is for him. I don't remember Kerry making any HUGE gaffes, but every single time Kerry Fraser would ref a game, my Dad would yell, "Fraser's always had it out for us!". He must have done something wrong.

He did have awful hair that he never hid under a helmet. Who am I kidding... he didn't need a helmet with the amount of hairspray he used!

#3 - Andy Van Hellemond

I'm sure Quebec Nordiques fans remember Van Hellemond calling off Joe Sakic's goal in the 1995 playoffs which eventually led to their demise at the hands of the New York Rangers. He did referee a lot of games including a couple against the Calgary Flames that I have successfully blocked out. You can remind me of them if you'd like.

All I remember is having his hockey card from the ProSet series pinned to my dart board, along with my number 2 on this list. Andy officiated many games in a quality fashion. However, it is the big gaffes that got him on this list.

#2 - Denis Morel

Denis Morel seemed to have it in for the Flames from the beginning of time, but it never was more evident than in the 1990 playoff series against the LA Kings. In overtime of Game 6, the Flames scored a goal that crossed the line, but was called off by Denis Morel.

Then came the famous series winning goal from Mike Krushelnyski, where Mike Vernon waved his glove at the puck as it flied over his head and into the net. Flames fans NEVER forgave Denis Morel for that one.

#1 - Mick McGeough

My dad had so much fun hassling this guy! Rightfully so. Mick was notorious for the strange calls that left us scratching out heads. He was always confident in making his calls, even if they baffled the rest of the hockey world.

Mick could never decide whether to let the teams just play, or make as many calls as humanly possible. It is the "Hand Pass" call, however, that stays fresh in our minds.

Many referees were good some of the time. But, I can only think of one quality game officiated by Mick. I'm sure he's a great guy, and maybe even a good husband and father. He will not, however, be remembered as a good referee.

Let me know who you think should be remembered in your lists, or what referees should be remembered for their quality officiating.