The award is named in honor of Mark Rudolph, a long-time official and distinguished administrator who resides in Colorado Springs and established USA Hockey’s National Officiating Program, among many other accomplishments. The award was officially established on Aug. 26, 2014, and is presented to a member of the NCHC officiating staff following each season at officiating camp.
A St. Louis native, Sullivan completed his third season as an NCHC referee and was presented with the award on Sept. 24 at a ceremony attended by all NCHC referees, regionally based linesmen and NCHC staff in Mendota Heights, Minn. The presentation was also attended by Sullivan’s parents, Dan and Annamarie Sullivan.
Sullivan joined the NCHC officiating staff for the inaugural season after enjoying many successful seasons of junior and professional hockey. Sullivan attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., where he played collegiate club hockey and participated in the building of what is now a very successful ACHA program. Sullivan then concentrated his efforts into his pursuit of a full-time officiating career in professional hockey.
While working three seasons in the USHL under the U.S. Officiating Development Program’s guidance, Sullivan was selected to work the Clark Cup finals on three different occasions and was also selected to officiate the USHL’s All-Star Game on two occasions. During this same time, Sullivan was also assigned to work the Southern Professional Hockey League’s President’s Cup finals.
During the 2008-2009 season, Sullivan made the jump to the ECHL, where he was on staff for four full-time seasons as a referee. In addition to officiating at the NHL’s 2009 Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., Sullivan was selected to referee the ECHL’s Kelly Cup conference finals on four different occasions from 2009 to 2012. Sullivan also patrolled the ECHL’s 2011 All-Star Game in Bakersfield, Calif. and the Kelly Cup finals in 2012.
While working in the ECHL, Sullivan went on to officiate over 150 games in the AHL between 2010 and 2014, working his first Calder Cup playoff game in 2011.
Sullivan now works with USA Hockey amateur officials in the St. Louis area and recently accepted a position with the Missouri Ice Hockey Official’s Association as its development and education director, in which new participants are introduced to officiating and mentored during their early development.
During the 2014-15 season, the NCHC’s Officiating Program made the decision to become more active in fundraising for those who need assistance, and the “Movember Foundation” was selected as a charity that is committed to men living happier, healthier and longer lives. The foundation concentrates on three key areas as they relate to men’s health – testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and suicide prevention.
Sullivan volunteered immediately, offering his assistance in growing the NCHC effort and fully supported officials showing their human side, while putting away their razors during the month of November in support of the cause. Since then, Sullivan has organized and conducted “Movember” charity golf tournaments in both 2014 and 2015 at his home course in Missouri, which have greatly aided in the officiating program’s fundraising efforts, and his 2016 tournament is already scheduled.
The NCHC Officiating Program raised approximately $700 in 2014, but with Sullivan’s assistance and contributions from the entire NCHC officiating staff, that fundraising effort ballooned to over $5,400 in 2015.
“‘Sully’ has been one of our most consistent, professional and reliable officials to date, and I can place him into any game or situation without concern,” said NCHC director of officials Don Adam in a statement. “Joe’s well-respected within our staff and he quietly leads by example both on the ice and off. Sully’s contributions toward building our Movember fundraising effort have been invaluable and he consistently gives back to the officiating community both on the ice and off.”
On the ice, Sullivan has been selected to officiate the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff championship tournament all three years so far, while being chosen to work the championship games in both 2014 and 2016. Sullivan was also nominated to advance to NCAA regional tournaments in both 2014 and 2016, working the regional championship game in 2014.
“It has been a pleasure getting to know Joe Sullivan over the past three years,” added NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton. “His commitment toward being an excellent official in the NCHC and all of college hockey is second to none. He is one of the best in our game. However, and more importantly, Joe’s work off the ice with the NCHC’s Movember fundraising has been incredible. To raise over $5,000 in just the program’s second year is outstanding and Joe is largely responsible for this success.
“We are proud to have Joe a part of the NCHC officiating staff and now a Mark Rudolph Award Winner.”