ECHL Director of Officiating Joe Ernst presented linesman Ray King with the 2009-10 Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award prior to Saturday night’s ECHL game in Toledo.
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 am honored and humbled to accept this year’s Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award,” King said. “I want to thank all of my fellow ECHL officials as well as those who have helped me throughout my career. It is both an honor and a privilege to work with so many great officials in the ECHL.”
King is in his 11th season as an ECHL linesman. He has worked over 480 games, including the 2008 and 2009 Conference Finals and the 2008 Kelly Cup Finals. The 34 year old also worked the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game in Stockton.
“Ray has been a valuable member of the ECHL Officiating Staff for 11 years,” said ECHL Director of Officiating Joe Ernst. “He comes to work every game and is always willing to help out the younger officials in their development. It is a great honor for Ray to be recognized by his peers with this award. Ray’s passion and dedication for the ECHL and officiating is what the Ryan Birmingham Award represents and Ray is a very deserving winner. I congratulate him for this honor.”
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-one former ECHL officials are working as part of the NHL officiating team in 2009-10 with referees David Banfield, Francis Charron, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Herbert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Bryan Pancich, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.