The January 12, 2003 issue of the Washington Post
featured an article that highlights the difficulties of being a referee in
the National Hockey League. The article highlights the career of one of
hockey's more enduring referees, Andy Van Hellemond, who refereed 1,475
games, more than anyone else in league history. Van Hellemond, now serves
as the NHL's director of officiating.
During his active career as a referee he broke his hand,
broke three ribs and separated his sternum after a collision with Hall of
Fame defenseman Larry Robinson along the boards. Van Hellemond was twisted
awkwardly upon impact and spent five weeks in the hospital with a badly
pinched nerve. He recalls the effects of his injury, "I couldn't feel my
right leg for the longest time," Van Hellemond said. "They would put pins
and needles in my leg up to my hip and I didn't feel a thing. It was
completely blocked." The article then explains that his career was saved by
chiropractic. The article stated, "Eventually a chiropractic adjustment
saved Van Hellemond's career."
Van Hellemond, was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame
in 1999. He is also at the vanguard of a sweeping evaluation system in which
every official travels with a laptop computer and receives daily critiques
via e-mail and video downloads. He was also the first official to wear a
helmet. His innovations and contributions to hockey would have been sorely
missed had his career been cut short. Andy Van Hellemond, and Chiropractic
have made their mark in hockey's history.