Long-time referee Bill McCreary to officiate last NHL game

Sports Network

4/1/2011 1:44:45 PM

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Veteran referee Bill McCreary will officiate his final regular-season NHL game on Saturday in Washington when the Capitals host the Buffalo Sabres.

It will be the 1,737th game of McCreary's career, which began on November 3, 1984 in nearby Landover, Maryland when the Capitals hosted the New Jersey Devils.

"Over the course of an outstanding career, Bill McCreary established a level of excellence matched by very few in the history of our profession," said NHL director of officiating Terry Gregson, a former referee. "The level of esteem with which he has been regarded by his peers, officiating managers and NHL players and coaches is reflected in the number of playoff games he was selected to work -- including a remarkable 15 Stanley Cup Finals."

McCreary holds NHL records for most playoff games officiated with 297 and most Stanley Cup Finals games at 44. He worked the Stanley Cup Finals 13 consecutive seasons from 1994-2007.

"I am honored to have worked in the NHL for so many years and have been privileged to be assigned to so many important games," McCreary said in the league's release. "My family always has been very supportive of my career and I'm very fortunate that they will be in attendance and able to share in my final game in Washington. I have worked with an incredible group of people both on and off the ice, and I am looking forward to my next adventure."

McCreary has also officiated games in the Canada Cup and Winter Olympics. He refereed the gold medal game at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, as well as the 2002 Salt Lake Games and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.