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NHL hires first European official

The NHL has hired the first European-trained official, as Swedish referee Marcus Vinnerborg will make his way over to North America next season. Vinnerborg will start off in the AHL while making pit stops in the NHL, with the hope of eventually becoming a full-time NHL official.

Vinnerborg is an accomplished international competition official, having worked four IIHF World Championships, the Junior Hockey Championships and most recently was an official for the 2010 Olympic Games.

From the NHL’s press release:

“I am very honored to be the first European to have this dream-come-true opportunity of working in the NHL,” said Vinnerborg. “I hope that this will help to lead the way for other European officials in the future as well. Personally, I look forward to having the chance to work with, and learn from, the best officials in the best league in the world.”

This is yet another step that the NHL is taking in embracing international hockey, and not just taking the best players from abroad for the league’s teams. While there has certainly been some frustrations between the NHL and international hockey, specifically when it comes to the Olympics, more and more it’s apparent the league is working to expand the game as much as possible.

Now, if only we can get rid of that dang trapezoid.