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Breaking: Popular, long-time NHL referee has passed away

RIP. Gone, but never forgotten.

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Bruce Hood, a veteran referee of over 1,100 NHL games over his 21-year-history, died this past Friday after a four-year battle with prostate cancer. The 81-year-old Hood was one of the NHL’s most popular referees during the 1970s and 80s and has been involved in some of the game’s most iconic moments.

Hood officiated the “Good Friday Massacre” line brawl between the Quebec Nordiques and the Montreal Canadiens in the 1984 playoffs. He was also part of the crew who officiated Game 4 of the 29170 Stanley Cup Final, witnessing Bobby Orr leap through the air and deliver the Boston Bruins their first Stanley Cup championship in nearly 30 years.

“He wanted to be the best at everything he did in his life, and refereeing was no exception,” Hood’s song Kevin Hood told The Canadian Press. “He would always say, ‘You’re only half right most of the time.’ Half the crowd’s with you and half the crowd’s against you. The games when you weren’t noticed, those were the best.”

Never content in life, Hood was always striving to be better. He was instrumental in the formation of the NHL Officials Association in 1969. After retiring from the game in 1984, Hood ran officiating clinics for nearly 20 years, wrote books on hockey, created new designs and patents on referee gear and even dabbled in politics. He was a true renaissance man whose love for the game of hockey always shone through.

“Bruce Hood brought professionalism and integrity to every game he worked and earned the respect of the players, coaches, general managers — as well as his peers,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “In addition to his command of the game and his ability to communicate on the ice, Bruce had a characteristic calmness that brought his excellence to the fore when the pressure was greatest.”

RIP, Bruce Hood. Gone, but never forgotten.

Seabrook on the outs in Chicago?

In other NHL news last night, the Chicago Blackhawks shockingly elected to scratch $7 million defenseman Brent Seabrook for last night’s 8-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Chicago Sun Times reporter Mark Lazarus broke the story yesterday afternoon that had all of Chicago in an uproar:

Hawks fans have not been pleased with the blue liner’s in recent weeks, especially because of his hefty contract. In 41 games, Seabrook just has 11 points this season and is on target for his lowest offensive production in nearly 10 years. 

Preds lock up three

Elsewhere in the Central Division Nashville Predators GM David Poile was a busy man yesterday afternoon. The team announced  that they’ve signed defenseman Yannick Weber to a two year extension.

The 29-year-old Weber has played nearly 100 games for the Preds since 2016 and has a goal and three points in 25 games with the team this season. His new contract will keep him in Nashville through the 2019-20 season and will reportedly pay him $650,000 and $700,000 annually.

The Swiss native has played 372 career NHL games split between the Preds, the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks. He has represented his home country on the world stage at the 2010 Winter Olympics, 2014 Winter Olympics, three World Championships, three World Junior Championships and two Under-18 World Championships… in almost each of these occasions, he was the defensive partner of current Preds captain Roman Josi.

In other related news, the team also announced that it has re-signed fellow defensemen Matt Irwin and Anthony Betitto. Irwin was re-upped for two years on a deal identical to Weber’s, whereas Bitetto was inked to a one-year deal.

Irwin, a 30-year-old native of Victoria, BC, has played 31 games with the Preds this season, putting up two goals and seven points. Last season he played a career high 74 games and put up an impressive +15 plus/minus rating. He was as rock for the team down the stretch and into the playoffs last season, playing 22 playoff games en route to the Preds’ run to the Stanley Cup Final.

As for Betitto, the 27-year-old has been a surprisingly solid addition to the team’s lineup this season, skating an average of 13:43 per game. He’s played in 86 games over four season for the Preds, putting up 16 career points.