Stephane Auger laughs maniacally during an NHL game.
NHL Referee Stephane Auger announced his retirement Friday, hanging up the whistle after 739 regular-season games and 10 playoff contests.
His final game was a March 15, 2012 contest between the Islanders and Flyers at Nassau Coliseum. (One wonders if he'd been given a better game, had the league known he was going to retire.)
I'd say it was very respectful of Auger to wait until the Stanley Cup Final was over to make this announcement (unlike a certain ex-Red Wing, amirite?), but having only called 10 playoff games in his 13-year career, I'm not sure he even knew the Stanley Cup Final was a thing.
Is it the right call? Who knows, Stephane Auger's making it.
Auger cited a desire to spend more time with his wife and children as the reason for his retirement. From the NHL's release:
"After 13 exciting years as an official for the National Hockey
League, I have made the difficult decision to retire from this position in order to take a more active role in the growth of my three young children," said Auger. "Time away from home during their adolescent years has become more and more difficult each season. Being closer to home will enable me to help my wife, Josée, and allow me to be a more present dad."
"I would like to thank the NHL for allowing me to realize a childhood dream. The League and its officials have provided me with many fantastic memories that I will forever cherish."
Auger has also provided the league with a few fantastic and cherishable memories, the most famous of which was likely his alleged vigilante justice on winger Alex Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks. According to Burrows, after feeling duped by the Canucks' winger on an embellishment in an earlier game, Auger swore revenge in the pregame skate before their next contest together. And followed through on his vow.
But the next time Auger says, "I'm going to get you," it will be while he's chasing his kids around, and that's a whole lot more appropriate than saying it to a hockey player just before a game.
Truth is, Canuck fans aren't the only group that have a bone to pick with Auger.
In fact, most hockey fans only know the official's name because at some point or another, he stood out for the wrong reasons. It's a trend that inspired Matthew Hawkins to equate pulling an Auger with pulling a Homer.
Rap us out, Matthew:
Thansk, Matthew. I mean thanks. Aw crap. Looks like I just pulled an Auger on you.