Joe Hutek Named Referee-In-Chief for NRHL

by Marie Sly

Veteran official brings over 20 years of referee experience to league

DETROIT, October 21, 2019 The National Roller Hockey League (NRHL) is excited to announce that veteran ice and roller hockey referee, Joe Hutek, has been named Referee-In-Chief for the new professional roller hockey league, set to play their first games in May, 2020.

Hutek has been around the hockey world for his entire life – he played AAA ice hockey in metro Detroit, along with “an excessive amount” of street/roller hockey, then while playing Bantam Major, he was hit from behind and destroyed his right ACL.  After rehab, he went back to play high school hockey and eventually decided as a high school freshman that he wanted to be a referee.  

“My goal was to make it to the NHL, but not the way most guys I knew wanted to,” said Hutek.  “I wanted to make it as a referee, so I worked my butt off through high school and eventually landed on referring collegiate hockey which ultimately became a passion of mine.”

Hutek’s goal is to structure the officiating program differently than anything players and fans have ever seen before.  He believes that roller hockey is a great venue to showcase the different personalities and strengths of the referees, just like with the players.  His thought is that everyone brings something different to the table and it all needs to be showcased. 

“Roller hockey and ice hockey are so very similar but so different at the same time – roller seems like much more of a skill game from an officiating standpoint,” said Hutek.  “There’s no blue line so it opens the ice up a lot more, feels more personable and intimate, allows more skill to be showcased and really, there’s just something different about roller that makes it more exciting, I just can’t put a finger on it.”

“Both Bob (Hall, Vice President of Business Development) and I had Joe on our radars for quite some time, as we’ve seen him work games at all levels in the metro Detroit area,” said Bobby Clouston, NRHL Commissioner and Co-Founder.  “From day one, we’ve been impressed with his professionalism, the way he manages games, and his reputation and knew he was the right fit for the Referee-In-Chief position for the NRHL.”

Hutek lives in Rochester Hills with his wife and two dogs.  While maintaining a full time job, he also referees at the high school, minor pro, Ontario Hockey League, and collegiate levels.

Registration is open for the NRHL Free Agent Combines, however space is becoming increasingly limited.  The first is being held November 1-3, 2019 at the Joe Dumars Fieldhouse in the Metro Detroit area, the second will be December 27-29 in Saint Louis, Missouri.

The Free Agent Combines will consist of one practice with their designated team, run by members of the NRHL team coaching staff, including with four games scouted by every head coach and various staff members from across the League as well as professional trainers on site to test and evaluate every player.  Along with all of that, the NRHL will have representatives on site from Alkali Verbero Skates to fit and measure for the player’s preferred boot, representatives from glove, helmet and other various equipment manufacturers so that when a player is named to a roster, all of their equipment will be ready and waiting for them when they walk into their new roller hockey home.

Each player will receive, among other things, a limited-edition custom NRHL insulated tumbler from Treblig Designs to commemorate their participation in the first-ever NRHL Combines.

The National Roller Hockey League is the only professional inline hockey league in North America and has teams in Detroit, St. Louis, Port Huron, and Grand Rapids.  For more information or to register for the 2019 NRHL Combines, visit our website at and find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.