Ryan Daisy is an Officiating Development Program Success Story

Leonardo Rasaki

The 34-year-old is the first person from the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program to reach the Cup Final. He was assigned to work Game 1, as well as Games 3 and 6 in the rotation of officials.

“It definitely was a moment I will never forget,” Daisy said.

While that was a big event, it wasn’t even the milestone of his summer. He married Elizabeth Fortin on July 23 in Quebec City, Quebec, where the couple moved to last summer for her job as a neuro-ophthalmologist. Daisy’s Cup assignment fortunately was just far enough away to not impact the wedding, with the Avalanche winning the title in Game 6 on June 26.

The opportunity came after missing out on an assignment past the first round in the last three seasons, including 2020 due to having bilateral hip surgery during playoffs that were held in the COVID-19 bubble.

But last season, Daisy kept progressing. First round, second round and the conference finals. He had been paired with Steve Barton before the playoffs began and the veteran linesman gave him some sage advice as the two drove from Toronto to St. Louis for a different first-round series.

“He just looked at me and he’s like, ‘Hey, just remember, all the players and coaches you know, they’re all under the microscope, just like us,’” Daisy recalled. “‘It’s going to be an emotional ride, don’t take everything to heart. Players and coaches are going to give you more of a hard time than they did in the regular season.’ But he truly just looked at me and goes, ‘You’re here for a reason. Just keep working the game the way you are.’ And that gave me a lot of confidence right there.”

One thing that probably works in Daisy’s favor is his attitude to striving to get better. Despite everything he achieved this season, he admits he’s never had a “perfect game”.

“I don’t think I will ever have a perfect game,” he said. 

He worked Game 7 between the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames in the first round and just kept his approach simple.

“I didn’t really think about what round it was or what game it was,” Daisy said of his thought process. “It’s just another hockey game I get to work.”

When the conference finals ended, Daisy had confidence in what he had done over the three rounds but didn’t know if it was good enough to be one of the five linesmen selected for the Cup Final. He had a conversation with his dad about whether he would make the cut and simply said, “You never know. We’ll find out in the morning.”

Daisy popped open his email the next morning and then flipped his phone over to his soon-to-be wife, who read the email and double-checked it: Daisy had been selected for the Cup Final.

Being selected to work Game 1, Daisy didn’t have extra time to get used to the atmosphere. But with it being the Cup Final, the officials got a rare morning skate, same as the teams typically do.

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