NHL makes controversial decisions about the referees for the finals

Graham Montgomery
June 6, 2024  (11:32 PM)

NHL referee Dan O'Rourke making a penalty call
Photo credit: X

The NHL announced the referees for the Stanley Cup finals today and many fans are not too thrilled with the selections, which includes Steve Kozari.

Kozari is in his 18th NHL season and has worked 148 career NHL playoff games including four Stanley Cup finals throughout his career. The veteran official will be joined by three other highly experienced referees, as well as the full compliment of linesmen.
Referee Steve Kozari made the cut and will be working the Stanley Cup Final between @FlaPanthers and @EdmontonOilers. Here's the rest of the Cup Final officiating crew:

Those referees joining Kozari are among the biggest names in the league, and also the most controversial. They are Jean Hebert, arguably the least offensive selection, and Dan O'Rourke along with Chris Rooney. Those later two names are well-known throughout the NHL, even among fans.
Jean Hebert, Steve Kozari, Dan O'Rourke, and Chris Rooney will be the referees for the Stanley Cup final.

According to scouting the refs, this group of officials is among the most veteran in the league. Jean Hebert is the young one of the group, and even he has been in the league for over a decade and has worked one Stanley Cup final before. He could potentially reach a personal milestone as well as he is four games away from having worked 100 NHL playoff games. O'Rourke and Rooney meanwhile, are each working the 7th Stanley Cup finals.
Jean Hebert #15 – 13 seasons, 96 playoff games, 2nd Cup Final
Steve Kozari #40 – 18 seasons, 148 playoff games, 5th Cup Final
Dan O'Rourke #9 – 23 seasons, 199 playoff games, 7th Cup Final
Chris Rooney #5 – 22 seasons, 167 playoff games, 7th Cup Final

All of that being said, many fans are not happy with these selections. Several have specifically questioned by Kozari, Rooney, and O'Rourke were selected for the finals. Not surprisingly, the lesser known Hebert has seemed to dodge most of the criticism so far.
How Kozari, Rooney and O'Rourke are final eligible with their egregious reffing is beyond me

Some fans are specifically concerned about the officiating in this series for a notable reason. Colin Campbell oversees the officials in the NHL, but his son is assistant general manager of the Florida Panthers. How can we know for sure they are not trying to create favorable situations in game for the Panthers as a result?
How do you feel about Colin Campbell overseeing the refs while his son Greg is the AGM of FL?
"Campbell is required to analyze and assess, candidly and directly, the performance of every member of the Hockey Operations Department -including those of all on-ice officials,"

We will just have to keep a close eye on the officials when the series starts on Saturday.
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NHL makes controversial decisions about the referees for the finals

Who do you think will win the Stanley Cup finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers?

Oilers11140.8 %
Panthers16159.2 %
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