Bettman makes another controversial selection in leadership at NHL.


Jun 24, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) take the face off to start the third period in game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Gregson, who for the last four years was the NHL’s Vice President of officiating has decided to retire. Gregson was chosen for the job after an officiating career that included 1,427 regular-season and 158 playoff games. He will be moving to an advisory role in the league. One of the main focuses for Gregson will be NHL participation in the 2014 Sochi games next winter.  He was widely respected in his role by his peers at the NHL.

”Terry had the unique ability to expertly manage the 78-man NHL officiating team,” NHL senior vice president Colin Campbell said in a statement. ”His tireless efforts behind the scenes to ensure that NHL officiating was the best it could be on a nightly basis were seldom recognized publicly, but we greatly appreciate his dedication to the game both on and off the ice for the past 33 years.”

His replacement however, has already raised the ire of many in the hockey world. Stephen Walkom held the job before Gregson. Walkom gave up the post to go back to being a ref on the ice. He has made some rather questionable calls. One of those blown calls was the missed call of goalie interference against Tim Thomas. Tim Thomas was knocked out of the crease enough to allow Joel Ward to get the overtime winner in game seven knocking the Bruins out of the playoffs in 2012. He was also a ref for several missed calls during the 2011 Bruins cup run. (Pick your favorite blown call in game three of the Finals folks) There are quite a few to choose from.

Walkom almost changed history several times during his time on the ice. He almost shut down the Chicago Blackhawks Cup run this year.  He’s one of those refs that can get Claude Julien and Joel Quenneville to get together and have a beer and some antacids. If there is any one person that can get Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins fans to unite in solidarity around one person in the league to hate (save Gary Bettman), it’s Steve Walkom.

While I am certainly not thrilled with yet another organization that allows people to “fall upwards” in their business, it may signal an overall improvement in the quality of refereeing on the ice. At the very least, he won’t be on the ice for a while.