NEW YORK – The National Hockey League announced that it has promoted former ECHL officials Wes McCauley and Dan O’Rourke to full-time status as NHL referees for 2005-06.
The ECHL has worked the past 15 seasons in conjunction with the NHL to develop on-ice officials and in 2003-04 there were 12 referees and three linesmen on the NHL officiating staff.
The referees were Harry Dumas, Bob Langdon, Wes McCauley, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre, Jay Sharrers, Jeff Smith, Ian Walsh and Dean Warren. St. Pierre worked six seasons in the ECHL, and officiated in the 1999, 2002 and 2003 Kelly Cup Finals and the 2001 ECHL All-Star Game.
The linesmen were Steve Barton, Brian Mach and Tim Nowak. Nowak, who began his officiating career in the ECHL, has been a linesman in the NHL since 1993-94 working more than 600 regular season games, and in 2003 he became the first ECHL official to work in the Stanley Cup Finals. There are also more than 30 ECHL officials working as referees and linesmen in the American Hockey League.
O’Rourke began his professional career as a left wing in the ECHL with Erie registering 30 points (9g-21a) and 296 penalty minutes in 64 games. He returned to the ECHL in 1995-96 with Louisiana and had 28 points (10g-18a) and 257 penalty minutes in 40 regular season games and nine penalty minutes in three Riley Cup Playoff games. In his final season in 1996-97, O’Rourke returned to Louisiana and had 48 points (28g-20a) and 160 penalty minutes in 58 regular season games and four points (3g-1a) and 42 penalty minutes in 10 Kelly Cup Playoff games. He also played in the International Hockey League, appearing in one game with Detroit and one game with Houston.
O’Rourke attended the Ontario Hockey Association Officials Camp and began working as a linesman in the ECHL in 1997-98 and was selected to work the 1999 Kelly Cup Finals. He was hired as a linesman by the NHL and in 1999-2000 worked 54 games in the NHL and 26 games in the AHL, including the Calder Cup Finals. After working his first full season as an NHL linesman in 2000-01, O’Rourke decided he would rather be a referee so he returned to the AHL in 2001-02. He worked the Calder Cup Finals as a referee each of the past three years and also worked the 2004 AHL All-Star Game.
Following four years at Michigan State University, McCauley played his first professional season in 1993-94 scoring 30 points (2g-28a) in 56 regular season games and three assists in three postseason games with Knoxville in the ECHL while also playing two games with Las Vegas of the IHL. McCauley, who was selected in the eighth round (150th overall) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, played four more seasons before retiring following the 1996-97 season after suffering an injury while playing in Italy.
McCauley, who received his bachelor’s degree in communications from MSU, attended the Ontario Hockey Association Officiating School and officiated one year in the OHA, the Greater Toronto Hockey League and the Ontario Minor Hockey Association before being hired as a referee in the ECHL. Hired by the NHL in September 2001, he has worked the Kelly Cup Finals in 2000 and 2001 and the Calder Cup Finals in 2004 and 2005. His first NHL game was the Chicago Blackhawks at the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 20, 2003. McCauley’s father, the late John McCauley, was a well-known and well-liked longtime NHL referee and former Director of Officiating for the NHL.