Swedish ref makes NHL history

Vinnerborg comes to North America for 2010-11

For the first time in history, a top European referee will bring his expertise to the NHL. It was announced Thursday that Marcus Vinnerborg will make the jump from Sweden's Elitserien next season.

The 37-year-old native of Ljungby has been officiating since 1987, and his impressive resume includes each IIHF World Championship from 2006 to 2009 (including the 2008 Russia-Canada gold medal game in Quebec City) and the 2010 Olympics. He has also refereed at the World Juniors and numerous European club and international competitions, such as the Karjala Cup, Spengler Cup, and Sweden Hockey Games.

"I first saw Marcus officiate a game in 2005, and have been watching him ever since, including in Vancouver [during the 2010 Olympics]," said NHL director of officials Terry Gregson. "He meshes extremely well [with NHL on-ice officials] on blended crews for World Championships and Olympics. Plus, he is a quality person. His knowledge of the North American game and his work ethic and professionalism will make him a positive addition to the NHL staff."

Gregson also cited his positive relationship with IIHF officiating manager Konstantin Komissarov as another factor that has helped make this historic move by Vinnerborg possible. The IIHF adopted the four-man system for officials starting at the 2008 Worlds in Canada.

Vinnerborg heads to Toronto in September to take part in the NHL's pre-season camp for officials. The plan is that he will work American Hockey League games prior to officiating in the NHL.

IIHF.com staff

With files from NHL.com



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