Hall of Fame Selection

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kevin Collins Enters Hall

On November 19th, long time NHL Linesman and Springfield, MA native, Kevin Collins, will be inducted into the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame. Kevin's NHL career began in 1977 after a brief stint playing professional hockey.

"KC" as he is affectionately known, would go on to work almost 2000 NHL games, 296 playoff games, 12 Stanley Cup finals, 2 All-Star games, Canada Cups, World Cups and the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

It is very easy to see from statistics alone how Kevin is truly worthy of the Hall of Fame. That being said, I think when you look at what makes a Hall of Fame official you need to look beyond the number of games and the number of finals but at the person being inducted and the traits that made Kevin so successful both on and off the ice.

When I think of Kevin I think of words like honest, hard working, dedicated to the game, integrity, love of the game, courage, inner strength, I could go on and on. These are all the traits that Kevin exhibited during his 28 years on the ice working for the National Hockey League and still does to this day.

Kevin quickly became one of the most respected officials in the game, not only by the players and coaches, but by his officiating teammates, and of course the fans of the National Hockey League. Kevin worked in an era of no helmets and names on your backs.

Even today when you see important games played on the Classic network it is easy to identify Kevin with his curly black hair and incredible knack for defusing heated situations.

Of the many achievements Kevin had, one of them was working Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final when the New York Rangers beat the Vancouver Canucks.

Kevin was also heavily involved with minor hockey and officiating in the Springfield area. Kevin helped for many years with minor hockey as his sons grew up and played in the local associations. Kevin also ran a very successful officiating school that produced many top quality officials including some who went on to be his colleagues in the NHL.

Of all the great things that can be written about Kevin and his officiating skills, I think the greatest thing I can say about Kevin is his loyalty and love for his officiating teammates, his friends and his family. Kevin is one of those people who you call once and ask for help and before you can turn around he is standing beside you there to help in anyway he can. He and his wife Mary have three grown children, who have gone on to wonderful careers of their own. Success breeds success and the Collins family is a great example of that.

I speak for all members of the NHL Officials Association when I say that we are proud of Kevin's induction, and we are very proud to have worked on the ice with him and call him a colleague and friend.

CONGRATULATIONS to Kevin and his family on this tremendous and deserving honour.

Tom Kowal

NHL Referee