NHL

Dave Newell, longtime NHL referee, dead at 73

Longtime NHL referee Dave Newell, a veteran of three Stanley Cup finals and the referee for a series of games between the Soviet Union and the NHL, died Sunday, the NHL announced Monday.

Worked 23 years from 1967-1990 when league used just one referee

Dave Newell, who refereed in the National Hockey League for 23 years, died Sunday at the age of 73. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Longtime NHL referee Dave Newell, a veteran of three Stanley Cup finals and the referee for a series of games between the Soviet Union and the NHL, died Sunday, the NHL announced Monday. He was 73.

Newell worked in the NHL from 1967-90, when games used only one referee. He also served as president of the NHL Officials' Association from 1980-89.

"For 23 seasons from 1967-68 through 1989-90, encompassing 1,169 regular-season and 106 playoff games, Dave Newell was among the top referees in the NHL," league senior executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. "He enjoyed a distinguished career that was highlighted by his selection to work in three Stanley Cup Final series (1981, 1984, 1987), the 1987 international series between the NHL and Soviet Union All-Stars, and the 1980 NHL All-Star Game."

That international series, called Rendez-vous '87, was a two-game set between Soviet Union national team and NHL All-Stars, played in Quebec City. Newell refereed the second game, which the USSR won 5-3 to split the series.

The 1984 Stanley Cup Final is noteworthy for being the first won by Wayne Gretzky.

Newell's death comes less than a month after Mick McGeough, a veteran of 21 NHL seasons, died at age 62.