Former ECHL linesman Brad Phillips was honored at the League’s annual on-ice officials training camp over the weekend in Toledo.
Phillips was the recipient of the 2012-13 Ryan Birmingham Award, and was presented with his award during the training camp. In addition, he was recognized for officiating 1,000 games in the ECHL, becoming just the third official in League history to reach the milestone. Phillips worked his 1,000th, and final, ECHL game on March 16, 2013 in Toledo, joining current ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst, who was a referee in the league from 1991-2006, and former ECHL linesman Norm Eberle, who worked in the league from 1989-2006, as the only officials to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
Presenting Phillips with his award were (pictured above at left): Birmingham’s sister, Olivia; niece, Emberlyn; brother, Jeff; stepmother, Debbie; stepfather Steve; mother, Teresa; brother, James; father, Roy. Also pictured are Phillips, ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly and ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna.
The Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award honors an On-Ice Official for his contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff and is determined in voting of ECHL On-Ice Officials. It is named in honor of ECHL linesman Ryan Birmingham who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in May 2007.
The 2007-08 edition of the ECHL Rule Book was dedicated to the memory of Birmingham, who was featured on the back cover, and ECHL on-ice officials wore a commemorative patch on their left shoulder that has 60, which is the number that Birmingham wore, and the initials RJB.
Birmingham began his officiating career when he was 12 years old in the Southgate Minor Hockey Association and worked his way into the USA Hockey Junior Officiating Development Program in 2003. Birmingham was hired as a full-time linesman by the ECHL in 2006 and worked 83 games in the regular season and four games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, including his final game, Florida at Charlotte, on April 17, 2007.