Bill McCreary (referee)

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Bill McCreary
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2014
Born (1955-11-17) November 17, 1955 (age 62)
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Playing career 1984–2011

William McCreary (born November 17, 1955 in Guelph, Ontario) is a former National Hockey League referee.[1]


McCreary refereed his first NHL game in 1984 at Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, then home of the Washington Capitals.[2] On February 16, 2008, McCreary refereed his 1,500th NHL game in a match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.[3] McCreary has been wearing uniform number 7 since the 1994–95 NHL season and has been wearing a helmet for most of his refereeing career. McCreary has a pregame ritual in which he flips the puck in the air before dropping it for the opening faceoff. He worked fifteen Stanley Cup Finals, the 1991 Canada Cup, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Nagano Olympics, where he officiated the Gold Medal game won by the Czech Republic.

During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, he officiated the men's hockey gold medal game won by Canada vs USA by the score of 5-2.

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, McCreary worked building kitchen cabinets to make ends meet.[4]

In 2007, McCreary was selected to officiate the Stanley Cup Finals for the 13th year in a row.[3] In 2009, McCreary officiated the Stanley Cup Finals for the 14th time. He was also selected as one of 13 NHL referees to officiate at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver,[5] including the Gold Medal Game.[6]

On December 22, 2009, McCreary officiated when Martin Brodeur broke Terry Sawchuk's career shutout record with his 104th shutout.[7]

Although he had previously announced that he would retire as an NHL referee at the end of the 2009-10 NHL season,[8] he returned for the 2010-11 NHL season.[9] McCreary officiated his last NHL game on April 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C. between the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres, a game won by the Capitals 5-4.

In total, he also officiated 1,737 regular season games, 282 playoff games, and one All-Star game.

On June 23, 2014, the Hockey Hall of Fame Selection Committee announced that McCreary would be enshrined in the Hall of Fame with the 2014 class of inductees.