why did refs stop using names in NHL ?

I remember a few years back that the refs in the NHL had their names on the back of their sweaters.
For some reason they stopped putting names on their sweaters and now they have only numbers.
Does anyone know why they stopped using names??:eek:

I read (can’t remember where exactly, but most likely in a sports magazine) that refs’ names stopped being put on their backs because of the large amounts of harrassment and personal attacks that would come from fans.

The average fan isn’t going to know who the ref is, but if the ref’s name is on the back of his shirt, then it makes it easier for the fan to yell “Hey Johnson, your mother wears army boots!” Some of the fans that were more seasoned with their taunting would do research on a ref’s family, background, etc. and I guess it would get pretty nasty. The NHL decided to solve the problem by taking names of the refs backs.

I can’t remember if the refs in the Olympics had their names on their backs or not, and unfortunately, college hockey isn’t televised enough so I don’t know if it’s the same for college officials.

They still announce who the on ice officals are, by name, before the game. Also, the the game program will have a list of the name and numbers of all on ice officals. If you want to insult the refs and linesmen by name, it isn’t to difficult.

That said, I think part of the reason the league went to numbers is what Dignan said. The other part of the reason is the mistaken notion by NHL higher ups that the more hockey is like other game, the more fans they will get. I don’t believe that officals in other sports have their names on their jerseys. MMDNV.

WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) refs have their names on the back of their uniforms.