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The Stew: Odd Man Rush Edition

July 20, 2019, 11:41 AM ET [1 Comments]
Paul Stewart
Blogger •Former NHL Referee • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulStewart22

For the remainder of the offseason, I am going to devote one blog per week to an variety of hockey-related or personal topics that are on my mind of late. I've toyed with this format idea before. The column will be called "The Stew", as in the kind you assemble in the kitchen: throw the ingredients together in a pot, add some seasoning, heat it up and serve.

Topic 1: Odd Man Rush

Although some critics have said my best "acting" was impersonating a pro hockey player and then a ref, I have made several cameos in motion pictures.

In 1977, I was in "Slap Shot" as the yellow helmet-wearing Long Island Ducks defenseman battling behind the net while Paul Newman's Reggie character colorfully taunts our goalie, Hanrahan, about his wife's, umm, lifestyle preferences. Finally, the goalie snaps and the Chiefs score a goal into the now-vacant net just before a brawl erupts. The funniest thing I remember about the scene is that the actor who played Hanrahan (Christopher Murney) was too short to actually jump into the bench to go after Newman's character, so they gave him an off-camera ramp to make it much easier.

My other memories are of receiving a $500 check (long, long gone) and autographed copy of the script from Paul Newman (which I still have). Newman hung out off-set with us players to get a sense of what we were like (bat guano crazy). In terms of my on-screen time, it's roughly one second in the background of two shots focused on an increasingly angry Hanrahan.

Years later, I had the opportunity to be in two non-hockey movies. In 1983, I played a Secret Service agent in "Kennedy," starring Martin Sheen. In 2003, I portrayed a U.S. solider killed by machine gun fire on the final day of battle in World War II for the movie "Letters from the Dead." (side note: I posted a shot from the set of "Letters" in the photo section of my autobiography, "Ya Wanna Go?" and also on my Twitter page).

Most recently, I was invited by producer Howard Baldwin, a longtime close friend of mine, to play a cameo role in the upcoming hockey movie release, "Odd Man Rush", starring Jack Mulhern, Dylan Playfair, Elektra Jansson Kilbey and Trevor Gretzky. Mario Lemieux's daughter, Alexa, also has a small role. The movie is based on Bill Keenan's autobiography about the travels of a Harvard hockey player to playing minor league hockey in Europe after his graduation.

Originally, I was asked to play a referee in the movie. I refused, due to fears of typecasting. I asked instead to play an import enforcer in Swedish Division 1 hockey, only to be told that I was too old to be convincing as a still-active player and there were no such players in the league.

Yes, I'm just kidding; on both fronts.

I was asked to portray a referee but, sadly, my bad knees no longer enable me to skate for any prolonged period of time. Graciously, the producers offered me an alternative role; a Harvard assistant coach. So this old Groton kid and Penn Quaker got into Harvard after all. I gladly accept the part.

When you see the movie, look fast or you might miss me. Again, I jest. I am in one entire scene, unlike Slap Shot, which truly was a "don't blink" kind of cameo.

Topic 2: Illigitomi non Carborundum

I recently sent this out to 264 Officials of all ages and levels who work games for me on my Officiating by Stewart website.

URGENT Personal Email Message: Officiating By Stewart

Officials, several items.....

1) The morning skate @ Rodman is Tuesday and Thursday @ 5:45 AM: $5 for the Zamboni Driver.

2) Chowder Cup assignments are made for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Sunday playoff games are not fully assigned as we will need linesmen for the semi and finals. So I will come calling. Many of you are marked as unavailable for the 1/2 hour games at the full pay of $70. That's too bad.

3) Availability: It's terrible to think that you are not enjoying the summer. You should BUT we also need to staff games. Many of you do not log in or haven't for a while, some have never logged in. As I must soon pay Web Ref their fee for carrying you as an official, for those that don't log in or communicate, taking games and being available, you may be outside the tent looking in. Let me know by today.

4) Officials from CT, RI, NJ, Eastern NY and Western MA...we will need officials for CT Tournaments especially coming up on Labor Day. I will retain you for those CT Tournaments unless you prefer to take your leave. Let me know today, please.

5) College Hockey: As you now know, I am no longer assigning nor managing the ECAC D 1 Men and Women's. Twelve years there is 11 years longer than the four directors that proceeded me. I believe that the methods and coaching that we utilized made our staff over the years not only the best conditioned but also the best positioned and best thinking Officials at this or any level.

For those that don't know it, we have a number of officials who are striving for higher levels. I am here for them and for all of you. My job now is to assist you in maximizing your abilities, your time and your game levels to achieve happiness and a good income for your efforts.

In hockey, I have had a full life. I have been bought, sold, traded, cut, sent down, called up, benched, punched, hi sticked, checked, ill, injured and recovered. I have had magnificent highs and some terrible lows.

I know one thing: I have never quit despite the people, some who can't skate a stride, who decided to try to hurt or beat me. They will never win that battle.

Illigitomi non Carborundum: look it up. I had seven years of Latin and I have lived by this motto. "Don't let the bastards wear you down."

I still have the ISL, The Chowder Cups and some influence in the Hockey world. It's never over until the priest says, "Thank you for coming today. There will be coffee and cake back at the house!"

My skates have been my passport to the world (thank you again to my little pal, Matthew Sherman, and young illustrator Chloe Mako for the delightful kids book that tells the story of my first-ever skates and to NPR for retelling my real-life version of "A Christmas Story" on their syndicated Just a Game broadcast series episode first aired on Dec. 23, 2017). Hockey has been my life, saved my life, and given me a life that is very rich in experiences.

That a kid from Dorchester can say that he skated with Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito. That there are others such as McCauley and Maxwell Stewart, Bryan Hicks, Garret Flynn, Ryan Daisy, Katie Guay, Pat Dapuzzo, Geno Binda, Dan Schachte who I had the pleasure of skating with as well.

The friends that I have made in my life...WOW...I have been so very fortunate. I do miss Alfie LeJeune, Brock Foster and Romeo LeBlanc. They loved the game as much as I did, which made us best of friends. So, that's my message to all of you who might have thought that the recent changes would get to me, HAHA, NYET.

I still love going into rinks because that is where my life, my friends and my passion has been and always will be. Make availability known or tell me if we should part ways.

Topic 3: Who is the "grown up" here?

This post on Twitter is a perfect case in point of why we can't recruit more young people to give officiating a try, regardless of the sport. Would you want your kid to put up with abuse like this, when all he or she wants to do is to learn, and is giving 100 percent to do so? These parents, and they sadly are every bit as prevalent in youth hockey and soccer, should be ashamed of themselves that they are far less mature than the kid they were berating.



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A 2018 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee. On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games.
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