Inspired by baseball umpires, Chadwick began the hand gestures upon arrival in the NHL as a referee in the 1940s. Some labeled him a showoff, but obviously his habit became normal practice. In those days public address announcements were hard to hear, and fans were often left wondering why exactly their favorite player was heading to the penalty box.
Here's a look at referee hand signals used today.
Here's a few more interesting facts about the man they called "The Big Whistle."
- He was an American, born in New York City on October 10, 1915
- He was a very promising player
- His playing career ended when a stray puck hit him in the eye. He lost all vision in the eye (leading to many blind referee jokes, I'm sure)
- Became an official almost by accident, filling in last minute for an ill referee during an EHL game.
- Quickly moved through the ranks, and in 1940, at the age of 24, joined the NHL as a linesman.
- The next season he became a long time referee, retiring in 1955
- He retired having officiated over 1000 games, setting the NHL record at the time
- He has been elected to both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the United States Hockey Hall of Fame
- From 1965 through 1987 he worked as a color analyst on New York Rangers telecasts and radio broadcasts
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