Published: October 07, 2017
Tonight, NHLOA Alumni referee Rob Martell who retired from the NHL two seasons ago after working his 1,000th NHL Regular Season Game on January 2nd 2016 in Tampa Bay, will be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 2017 nominees will become official members of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame at the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Dinner to be held at CanadInns Polo Park. Joe Aiello will once again handle the Master of Ceremonies duties. The Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum is located on the main level of the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg.
The NHLOA, would like to congratulate Rob on this remarkable achievement in recognition of his career and involvement in officiating in the province of Manitoba.
Rob was born in Winnipeg, and had an amateur playing career in the Stonewall area, winning two provincial championships. After playing one season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Selkirk Steelers and the 1982-83 season with the Stonewall Jets in the South Interlake Hockey League, his team won both the league and provincial titles in 1983. At the same time, Martell was becoming a minor league official under the guidance of Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame member Perry Allan, working games in Stonewall, the Interlake and some AA and AAA games in Winnipeg. After a few years, he was promoted to officiate as a referee in Junior B, MMJHL, MJHL, CASH and other senior leagues. While focusing more on the referee position, Rob was also learning at a higher level of hockey by working as a linesman for the WHL when the Winnipeg Warriors played in the city.
In 1984, Martell got a break when an NHL linesman was unable to work and called on Martell to work the game. Then, three years later, he was called to the NHL summer camp and hired in their trainee program, officiating junior hockey across Canada and the U.S. in the WHL, OHL, QMJHL and the CCHA Division 1. Martell performance in this initial season as a trainee earned him to be assigned to roughly 50 games in the IHL and AHL the following season.
In 1992 he was finally hired on a full time status as a minor league referee with the NHL. Then the big day came on Easter Sunday in 1996 (April 7th) when he refereed his first NHL Regular Season Game handling a matchup between the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators way back in in the days when referees worked solo. Martell was promoted to a full time NHL Referee status in 2000. He was selected to work the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta with referee Brad Watson while working the lines that night were retired linesmen Pat Dapuzzo and Lyle Seitz. The Winnipeg native worked his 1,000th and final game on January 2nd, 2016 in Tampa Bay along with referee Dan O’Halloran while linesmen Andy McElman and Brian Mach worked the lines that night.
Click below for an article published in January 2016 on Rob Martell’s reflecting on his NHL career written by Doug Lunney from the Winnipeg Sun: