(Photo - NHL Referees Association)

(Photo - NHL Referees Association)

Kelowna native makes debut as NHL ref

Beach is the second ever referee from the Okanagan to make it to the NHL

Cody Beach made an NHL debut of a different kind earlier this month.

The Kelowna native became an NHL official on April 12 when he was assigned to officiate a game between the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes.

Originally from Nanaimo, Beach grew up playing hockey in Kelowna and was drafted in the WHL draft to the Calgary Hitman in 2007. He would go on to win the Memorial Cup with the Hitman in 2010. In his time in the WHL, he split time between Calgary and Moose Jaw.

Beach was drafted in the fifth round (134th overall) of the 2010 NHL entry draft by the St. Louis Blues. He bounced around the AHL and ECHL between retiring from playing the game in 2016. Despite retiring, he wanted to stay involved with the game, and locals in Moose Jaw convinced him to attend the NHL Officials Exposure Combine later that year in Buffalo.

Since then, Beach has gone through the ranks rapidly. After making his way from minor hockey up to the WHL the past five years, Beach got the call to become a referee in the AHL for the start of the 2021-22 season. After making an impression all season long, the 29-year-old got the call to the big leagues.

He was the fourth referee in the span of a month to make his NHL debut, and is also the second-ever referee from the Okanagan. Penticton’s Steve Kozari has been in the NHL since the 2007-08 season and officiated the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals.

Beach’s brother is former Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach, who was referred to as ‘John Doe’ in the team’s sexual assault scandal from 2010.

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