Walkom refs 1st period of Isles-Rangers alone

Dec 27, 2009 - 1:23 AM NEW YORK (AP) -- Stephen Walkom worked as the lone referee during the first period of a game between the New York Islanders and New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Dean Morton, who was slated to work alongside Walkom on Saturday night, arrived late due to "weather-related complications," according to a news release issued by the Rangers. Morton joined Walkom during the second period.

Walkom returned to the ice this season after spending four years as the NHL's director of officiating. Before moving to the league office, Walkom worked more than 600 games as an NHL referee.

The NHL began using two referees instead of one during the 1998-99 season, with each club playing 20 games with two. That increased to 25 home games and 25 road games the following season. All games have been officiated by two referees since the 2000-01 season.

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