Former Quaker Valley, RMU hockey standout South working as NHL, AHL referee
Furman South of Sewickley is enjoying his first season as an NHL official and looks forward to refereeing his first NHL regular-season game.
South, 28, splits time between the NHL and the American Hockey League, the top professional hockey league in North America outside the NHL.
Through October, he worked in 16 games, including five NHL preseason ones.
“I am still waiting to know when my first NHL regular-season game will be,” he said.
A Quaker Valley graduate, South played hockey since he was a child and was on the Quakers’ 2006 state championship team. He went on to compete for four seasons for Robert Morris.
After deciding he wanted to be an official, he attended the NHL Exposure Combine and served in the USA Hockey Junior program.
He advanced through several leagues before moving to the NHL in just three years.
South, who wears No. 44, said he enjoys being on the ice with the best hockey players in the world and the camaraderie that comes with being part of an officiating team.
“To continually push myself to improve and perform to the best of my ability (is a good part of the job),” he said.
South also likes being able to explore “some cool places” and their restaurants.
A drawback, he said, is a “ton of travel” that keeps him from friends and family.
South, who is engaged to be married, can’t wait for his first Penguins game.
“It will be an unbelievable experience,” he said. “I grew up watching the Penguins and the great players they had on those great 1990s teams like Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.
“(They are) a huge part of (my) falling in love with the sport. It will be a very exciting moment when (I’m) able to skate onto that ice in front of the many friends and family (I’m) sure will be in attendance.”
Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn is proud of his former player.
“He’s a young man with integrity and work ethic (who) deserves everything he has achieved,” Quinn said.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.