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NHL hires first European official

May 20, 2010, 3:45 PM EST

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The NHL has hired the first European-trained official, as Swedish
referee Marcus Vinnerborg will make his way over to North America next
season. Vinnerborg will start off in the AHL while making pit stops in
the NHL, with the hope of eventually becoming a full-time NHL official.

Vinnerborg is an accomplished international competition official,
having worked four IIHF World Championships, the Junior Hockey
Championships and most recently was an official for the 2010 Olympic
Games.

From the NHL’s press release:

“I am very honored to be the first European to have this
dream-come-true opportunity of working in the NHL,” said Vinnerborg. “I
hope that this will help to lead the way for other European officials in
the future as well. Personally, I look forward to having the chance to
work with, and learn from, the best officials in the best league in the
world.”

This is yet another step that the NHL is taking in embracing
international hockey, and not just taking the best players from abroad
for the league’s teams. While there has certainly been some frustrations
between the NHL and international hockey, specifically when it comes to
the Olympics, more and more it’s apparent the league is working to
expand the game as much as possible.

Now, if only we can get rid
of that dang trapezoid.

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