Stephen Walkom one of the top referees in the NHL will be leaving the ice effective immediately to rejoin the management ranks as NHL Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating the League announced Wednesday . Walkom who held the position between 2005 and 2009 replaces retiring Terry Gregson.

"We are fortunate to have someone with Stephen's on- and off-ice experience ready to step in to this position" NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said. "From 2005 to 2009 Stephen provided tremendous direction and guidance to our team of officials as the League implemented several rule changes that brought more flow and speed to our game. That management experience combined with the fact that he has been back on the ice as a referee for the last four years will be of tremendous benefit to the League and the game."

A 49-year-old native of North Bay Ontario who joined the NHL officiating ranks in 1990 Walkom has been one of the NHL's top-ranked referees for the past several years. He refereed a total of 965 regular-season and 139 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He worked the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2002 2004 2010 and 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Walkom served on the Executive Board of the NHL Officials’ Association from 1993 to 2005 including a term as president before joining the League's front office in 2005.