Dreger: Walkom leaving NHL post to try comeback as referee

Darren Dreger

8/25/2009 1:31:33 PM

Stephen Walkom is leaving his post as the NHL's Director of Officiating with the intention of making a comeback as an NHL referee.

The 46-year old recently informed the league of his decision after several months of contemplating the move.

Walkom will physically prove he can return and will participate in the NHL officials training camp which opens on Sept 7.

Sources say the league is currently searching for Walkom's successor, but will likely start the 2009-2010 season without his replacement in place.

Walkom joined the NHL's Hockey Operations department in 2004, replacing Andy Van Hellemond. Some fear his transition back to the ice after four years of managing, and in some cases disciplining officials he used to work alongside, may have its challenges.

Walkom's NHL officiating career began in 1990 and he quickly became one of the game's best, earning him assignments at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, as well as the 2002 and 2004 Stanley Cup finals.