ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst presented linesman Travis Jackson with the 2013-14 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award prior to Saturday night’s ECHL game in Alaska.
The 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.
Jackson is in his ninth season as an ECHL official, and has worked two Kelly Cup Finals. He began his officiating career in Anchorage during the 1998-99 season at the age of 16, and attended USA Hockey’s Western Regional Camp in 2001 at Ferris State University. In addition to his time officiating in the ECHL, Jackson has also worked professional games in the West Coast Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League and collegiate games in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in addition to numerous USA Hockey tournaments.
The 33-year-old Jackson was born in Asheville, N.C. near the Cherokee Indian Reservation but was raised in Anchorage. He graduated from Holy Rosary Academy in Anchorage in 2000 and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage as well as Liberty University in Virginia in 2005-06, and Tarleton State University in Texas in 2006-07.
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.
Twenty-seven former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2014-15 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award Winners