Officials thrilled to make NHL All-Star Game debut

From left, 2024 Honda (U.S.)/Rogers (Canada) NHL All-Star Game officials Trent Knorr, Brandon Gawryletz, Frederick L’Ecuyer and Francis Charron speak to participants on Saturday during the 2024 NHL All-Star Youth Hockey Jamboree Celebration at St. Michael’s College School Arena.

The record shows that the all-time All-Star Game crime blotter remains at 294 penalties, with tripping (58), hooking (56) and holding (52) infractions leading the list.

“It was great,” Charron said. “You get the chance to do this once, with all the best players. The games today were really good. They put in a great effort, it was a great show, fun to be a part of it.

“You have your family involved, too. We travel so much by ourselves, so this was a bit of a reward for them, too. The whole experience, just to bring this home, is great for everybody.”

On the lines, Knorr and Gawryletz had a slightly different view of the action than the referees, but they agreed that the experience was unforgettable.

“It’s pretty incredible to be out there with, really, the best players in the entire League, all in one spot at the same time,” Knorr said. “It was pretty special to look up in the stands and see my family up there, smiling and waving.

“It was everything I expected, and more. It turned out to be an even better weekend than I could have imagined.”

Then, with a grin: “And it’s about the only time in the year when you get to see all the players in one spot and they’re not yelling at you.”

Gawryletz was impressed by the skills displayed by the pantheon of stars on Scotiabank Arena ice.

“It was obviously very special, to see that talent level compete,” he said. “I thought it was great the way the players reacted to it. The skill level they displayed is so good for our game, put in a showcase like that.

“Everything was pretty friendly, guys joking among themselves. It was clear that they had a good time and enjoyed the moment. And the shootouts were one more way for them to showcase their talent. There was some fantastic goaltending. You had to feel bad for the goalies at some points in the game, but it was great.”

L’Ecuyer, especially, was savoring the moment of this milestone in the building where he’d worked his first NHL game, his first All-Star Game behind him, No. 1,000 four days ahead.

“It’s been a long road, 18 years,” he said. “We’ll have a 1,000-game celebration in Tampa in March with my friends and family. It’s something I’m pretty proud of — a young guy from Quebec who didn’t speak English who’s made a lot of sacrifices to arrive where I am today.”

Top photo: 2024 Honda (U.S.)/Rogers (Canada) NHL All-Star Game officials pause before leaving the ice. From left: Trent Knorr, Frederick L’Ecuyer, Francis Charron and Brandon Gawryletz.

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