His 21 career NHL games played as a hard-nosed grinder for the Quebec Nordiques were just the beginning. Just three years after the end of his playing career, he was back in the NHL as an official, the first (and still only) American-born to both play and officiate at the game’s highest level. He was also the first American-born to officiate 1,000 games in the National Hockey League.
And now, Paul Stewart is a Hall-of-Famer.
At an induction ceremony on December 12 in Nashville, TN, along with Red Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, Leland “Hargo” Harrison and David Poile, Stewart will join his grandfather, Bill Stewart, Sr., as a member of the US Hockey Hall-of-Fame.
“It takes a lot to render me speechless, but I was truly at a loss for words,” Stewart said in statements released following the announcement of his induction in August.
“I am very grateful to the selection committee for including me among so many of the sports luminaries.
“…Being inducted in the Hall-of-Fame is something that I never dreamed would happen. I’m just a rough-around-the-edges kid from Dorchester and Jamaica Plain who would do anything to be at the rink. When I look at the company that I am being included with in the U.S. Hall – the best officials, greatest players, coaches and builders of the game in our country – it is humbling.”
Stewart’s 17-year NHL officiating career ended with 1,010 regular season game’s officiated, 49 Stanley Cup playoff games and two All-Star Games. In 2001, he received the National Association of Sports Officials Gold Whistle Award. His officiating career continues to this day as the Director of Hockey Officiating for the ECAC, as well as chief referee assignor for New England Pro-Am Hockey.
“Paul Stewart has brought the Chowder Cup tournaments to a higher standard of officiating,” NEPAHL president Mike O’Connell, Sr., commented. “We couldn’t be happier that Stewy is getting recognized for his accomplishments.”