The ECHL on Thursday announced that linesman Travis Jackson is the 2013-14 recipient of the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award.
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.
“I was shocked, yet humbled and honored, to have been voted for the Birmingham Award by my peers,” Jackson said. “I had the pleasure of knowing and working with Ryan, and his dedication to the ECHL and the game of hockey was obvious. I’ll never forget the kindness that Ryan showed to this kid from Alaska, whom he had never met, until working junior hockey together in 2003. His support, dedication and acts of kindness towards someone he had never met before really stuck with me and I have strived to do the same thing ever since. So, to receive the Ryan Birmingham Award and to be in the company of its past recipients is both humbling and an honor I will cherish forever.
“I would like to thank my family and parents Mark and Sherri Jackson for all of their love and support over my officiating career,” Jackson continued. “I would also like to thank everyone who voted for me and all my peers in the ECHL. I cannot name everyone here, but please know I am truly thankful and honored to have met and skated with you. I also would like to thank Joe Ernst, Mike Pearce, Mr. Patrick Kelly, Brian McKenna and the entire ECHL staff for both giving me the opportunity to work in this great League, and for taking care of me when I was injured. I also need to thank Mr. George Benson, Gary and Connie Hardwick, Walt St. Pierre, Dino Curcio, Mark McKee, Darren and Pauly Kadel, Josh Ellis, Paul Brauneis, Steve Glines, Kyle and Jessie Embley, Matt Leaf, David Hansen, Oliver “Butch” Mouseaux, Don Adam, Tim Walsh, Peter Friesma, Michel Voyer, Jordan Crowell, Steve Patafie and Tudor Floru. I thank all of you for your friendship, mentorship and support over the years.”
Jackson is in his eighth season as an ECHL official, and is working his second Kelly Cup Finals this year. 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 32-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.
“This award is a very well-deserved honor for Travis as he exemplifies what this award is all about,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “Travis is such a team guy who goes above and beyond what any official would to make sure our guys are looked after when they arrive in Alaska. To have his fellow officials bestow on him the Birmingham Award is a tremendous honor. We Thank Travis for all his hard work and dedication to the ECHL and congratulate him on winning this award.”
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.
There were 27 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2013-14 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