On this edition of ‘MOJ on Sports’, host Bob Marjanovich talks with former NHL Referee Lonnie Cameron.
Born in Victoria, B.C., Cameron grew up in Colwood. The former goaltender began officiating at the age of 12 and played hockey until the age of 20. His last two seasons as a player were with the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Cameron was hired by the Western Hockey League (WHL) at age of 23, a league where he would end up spending a total of 9 seasons, where he was selected to work 2 Memorial Cup championships.
He skated in his first NHL Regular Season Game on October 5th, 1996 close to home in Vancouver, BC at the General Motors Place when the Calgary Flames were in town to play the Canucks. His last game was in Vancouver against San Jose, April 3, 2019.
Cameron was instrumental in the implementation of video review technology to assist referees in making difficult calls and was known for his ability to control the game and maintain a high level of discipline among the players.
‘You either can either conform or you don’t. If I have to hit my whistle, you aren’t going to like the results here. From the standpoint of the coaching staff Pat Quinn, he being GM here, (Vancouver) those first years, he was really tough and intimidating. He just had a way about him’.
Marjanovich asked Cameron about the travel required to be an NHL linesman.
‘It’s not quite a full two game, two-day average, but you’re 150 nights (in hotels) and about 20,000 miles, in the air to pull that off. It’s hard on the body’.
He was also respected for his communication skills, which he used to explain his calls to players and coaches in a calm and clear manner. His approach to officiating was always focused on the game and the players, rather than on himself or his own ego.
Cameron was assigned to work the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway and officiated in the NHL for 23 seasons.
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