By Doug Kennedy
When local people watch an NHL game on TV, I am sure they watch to see if the referee with number 33 on his jersey is on the ice that night.
I am sure that Kevin Pollock would rather be in Edmonton right now instead of sitting at home with a broken jaw. He is looking forward to eating some solid food in the next couple of weeks.
Referees are just as competitive as players, as they all would love to referee in a Stanley cup final. Seeing that Pollock refereed game five with the Toronto Maple Leafs playing the Columbus Blue Jackets, meant that he was one of the top rated officials going forward in the playoffs.
Pollock was at the Royal York for his time in the NHL bubble. He said they turned board rooms into gyms and there were 40 nurses testing all teams and officials for COVID-19 every day. Hotel X was the other hotel teams stayed in. BMO Field was a short walk or a shuttle ride every day you wanted to get outside.
The big plus about the shutdown of the season in March was the time he got to spend with his family.
Pollock played minor hockey in Kincardine and played junior for the Hanover Barons. In his last year of junior hockey, Hanover won the All-Ontario Championship. I was lucky enough to coach him for a couple of months in Hanover and it did not take me long to realize that he had a very high hockey IQ. Pollock also played at college for Georgian after junior and combined this with his refereeing.
After that, he moved to Guelph where he was required by the OHA and immediately began officiating at the Junior B level. From there he moved up to the Colonial League, East Coast League, American League and was in Ottawa at the Memorial Cup in 1999, where he refereed the final game. This showed the hockey world that he was the top young referee in Canada at the time.
His father, Clarke, said he worked with many good officials who he learned from, and developed his own path forward. He was never intimidated and made decisions when needed,–discussing officiating techniques many times. Clarke says you get in more trouble for not calling infractions versus the ones you do call.
Steve McAllister says “Kevin has earned and deserved every moment of success he has had in his distinguished career as an official. Kevin has worked more that 2,000 regular season and playoff games in the NHL. You will also not meet a more humble, genuine person than Kevin.” Steve was in Sochi at the Winter Olympics in 2014 where Kevin was a referee.
Some other highlights of Pollocks career include refereeing the Stanley Cup final in 2015 and then again in 2016. He was officating game six when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup..
The local junior C division is named after Pollock and his dad Clarke, who was a long time top official in the area for many years.
Both Clarke and Kevin are on the Kincardine Sports Wall of Fame.
He currently lives in Guelph with his wife Karie, his son Sam, 14, and his daughter Gabriella, 17.
The NHL plan was to start the officials training camp in mid-November with an NHL December 1 start, but it looks like that will be pushed back at this time.
Pollock has committed to the NHL that he will referee for four more years to make it 25 years in the NHL. After that, he says it will depend on how he feels going forward. The broken jaw he suffered this year in the playoffs was his first injury in all his years of refereeing.
A tip of the cap to number 33, who is such a great role model for local young officials to look up to. He is always available to help younger officials follow their dreams of getting to the NHL.