In memoriam of the late Oliver “Butch” Mousseau, the men’s WCHA will retire his officials’ jersey No. 12, while on-ice officials will wear a specially-designed “12” sticker on their helmets throughout the 2016-17 season.
Mousseau, a longtime league official, passed away March 25 after suffering critical head injuries stemming from a fall to the ice during warm-ups prior to the second WCHA Final Five semifinal game on Friday, March 18 at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
He was 48.
“Butch Mousseau will forever be in our hearts and minds,” said WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd in a statement. “Nobody wore the officials’ jersey with more pride and love for the game than Butch. It is only fitting that the No. 12 be forever retired in his honor.”
“The WCHA is, and always will be, a better league because of Butch’s involvement,” added WCHA president and commissioner Bill Robertson. “His legacy is one of the utmost professionalism, a truly infectious positivity and an ever-present smile that we would all do well to replicate. It is our hope that these small gestures are a reminder to us all of how lucky we are to have had Butch in our lives.”
While not mandatory, some WCHA schools will be memorializing Mousseau by placing the No. 12 in the referees’ circle on their home ice.
Mousseau was a full-time WCHA referee for 16 seasons, beginning with the 2003-04 campaign, and a part-time official in the NCHC since the league’s inception in 2013-14. He was also a USA Hockey official since 1998, worked as a referee in the ECHL beginning with the 1999-2000 season, and also had assignments in the AHL and now-defunct Central Hockey League. As the first Native American to work a game at the top level of the sport, Mousseau’s NHL officials’ sweater and skates are in the league’s Hall of Fame in Toronto.