Former ECHL referee T.J. Luxmore worked his first NHL game on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit when the Red Wings hosted the Nashville Predators.
“Working two years full-time in the ECHL prepared me for the opportunity to work my first game in the NHL,” Luxmore said. “It taught me how to manage my time away from the rink and travel to and from games, it taught me how to become a pro. Stepping on the ice at Joe Louis Arena for my first NHL regular season game was such a surreal moment, it was the culmination of over 10 years of hard work and determination.
“The caliber of hockey in the ECHL is very high and helped me hone my craft of officiating and move up to the next level,” he added. “The high level of play in the ECHL has allowed me to learn the nuances of officiating and practice them on a nightly basis.”
Luxmore worked full-time as a referee in the ECHL during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, and worked the Kelly Cup Finals both seasons. In addition to his experience in the ECHL, Luxmore also spent time in the Ontario Hockey League, and served as a referee at the Traverse City Rookie Tournament in 2011.
“The ECHL is very proud of T.J. achieving his dream,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “This is just the beginning of a long and prosperous career in the NHL, and we are glad that all of us were able to play some type of role in his development. This shows the commitment that we have here at the ECHL of not only developing players and coaches, but officials as well, as this is our sixth former full-time official in the last six years to make their NHL debut.”
There are 27 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work 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.