The ECHL announced on Thursday that linesman Scott DeBaugh has been named the recipient of the 2016-17 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.
The 2016-17 season was DeBaugh’s 10th as an ECHL official. He began his officiating career in 1997 in the Rocky Mountain District, and worked USA Hockey for 20 years. In addition to the ECHL, he continues to work games in the Amateur Collegiate Hockey Association and in the Western States Hockey League, where he has been selected to officiate two Thorne Cup Finals.
“I am extremely honored to be selected for the 2016-2017 Ryan Birmingham Award,” DeBaugh said. “I want to thank you all of my colleagues for this great honor. To be selected by your peers means a lot to me. I have to say, I am speechless, and for those that have worked with me, you know that is next to impossible. To be selected with all of our great referees and linesman in this league is really special.
"I would like to thank my parents and my wife, Susan, for being so supportive in what I do,” DeBaugh continued. “I’d also like to thank USA Hockey, the WSHL family, and ‘everyone’ on the staff in the ECHL. I would also like to thank all of those people that take care of all of the officials at Century Link Arena in Boise. Thank you to Mr. Patrick J. Kelly, Joe Ernst, Brian McKenna, and a big thank you to Mr. Mike Pearce, as your words of wisdom, ‘Work hard, Have Fun’ is what motivates me to work hard and have fun every game. Thank you to every Supervisor that has taught me over the years.”
“I would like to congratulate Scott for this award as it is a testament to the job he does both on and off the ice in the ECHL,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “To be selected by your peers for an award says it all to the type of person Scott is. He is always willing to help the staff when they are working in Idaho and just speaks to the passion and commitment he has for the ECHL and officiating.”
The ECHL will present the award to DeBaugh during the 2017-18 season.
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 32 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2016-17 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, 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, Ryan Daisy, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Kory Nagy, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Thirty-two of the 47 referees working in the American Hockey League in 2016-17, including four of the nine referees contracted to the NHL, came from the ECHL. Eighty-seven of the 178 linesmen in the AHL, spent time in the ECHL while 10 current ECHL referees and 31 current ECHL linesmen have worked AHL games this season.
Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award Winners 2016-17 Scott DeBaugh2015-16 Camden Nuckols and Oliver “Butch” Mousseaux2014-15 Scott Senger2013-14 Travis Jackson2012-13 Brad Phillips2011-12 Jason Rollins2010-11 Paul Carnathan2009-10 Ray King2008-09 Michel Voyer2007-08 David Jones