The Mariners tip their helmets to Wes McCauley, one of hockey’s most popular refs.
By Will Grunewald
The ECHL’s Maine Mariners are underway with their second season, after their first ended one win shy of the playoffs. This month, they host one of the season’s first promos, an appreciation night for NHL ref Wes McCauley, who will sign autographs and take a turn in the broadcast booth. Here, a hat trick of reasons this zebra deserves cheers, not jeers, for at least one night.
1He was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame this spring, a few months after working his 1,000th NHL game. Although he grew up in Ontario and spends much of the season bouncing from rink to rink, his wife is from Maine, and South Portland has been their home since 2003.
2 Last year, players voted him the NHL’s best official, and league execs have tapped him to call the past seven Stanley Cup Finals (even though an injury kept him from working last year’s championship). It runs in the family — his dad, John, was also a respected NHL referee.
3At the 2018 All-Star Game, a just-for-fun exhibition, players cracked up at one of his typically zealous calls. YouTube videos of his spirited officiating (highlights will also play on the Mariners scoreboard) have millions of views. “My kids think it’s embarrassing,” he says. “But all of us out there have a passion for hockey, and I guess I let it out sometimes.”