BuilderBorn Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 15, 1933
Like any Canadian boy, he started skating at a young age and played in various city leagues as he got older. He continued to play when he attended the University of Toronto, but his love for the whistle was greater than his abilities as a player. Nadin had started reffing at age 17 and moved up the ladder, as it were, first at the U of T when he played inter-faculty hockey and was asked to referee.
To state the obvious, he later reminisced that he, “got more pleasure from refereeing than from playing.”
A legend of the whistle was born.
Nadin, the Paul Loicq Award winner in 2007, reached the height of his refereeing career at the international level in Sapporo at the 1972 Olympics. He officiated seven games that year.
He quickly moved to the Ontario Hockey Association and then on to the CAHA (Canadian Amateur Hockey Association), precursor to today’s Hockey Canada. He hung up the whistle and was the CAHA’s referee-in-chief from 1976-86 during which time he created the referee certification program and wrote casebooks to enhance on-ice officials’ knowledge of the game and how to interpret it.
During this time Nadin padded his resume, working also as referee supervisor for the OHA and the OUA (Ontario University Association). In 1984, the OHA awarded Nadin the Gold Stick for his contributions to the game.
From 1992 to 1996, Nadin was a supervisor for the NHL. He selected referees for the 1998 Olympics, the first Games to feature NHL players. Of course, it was only a matter of time before his work led him to the IIHF, and he was part of the Federation’s Rules and Referee Committee for some three decades, travelling the world over supporting, analysing, and assisting officiating crews at every level of the international game.
His work with the IIHF is both similar to, and radically different from, his work in Canada. Whereas the CAHA, OHA, OUA, or NHL is one body for one level of play, the IIHF has dozens of members operating under immensely different skill levels, but the standards of officiating and interpretations of the rules have to be uniform. It’s a momentous task, one Nadin has embraced, and conquered, like no other.
In 2013, at the World Championship in Sweden, Nadin was presented with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal from the Olympic Committee, one of the highest honours a non-athlete can receive.
Away from the rink, Nadin’s story is equally incredible. His love of the game – combined with the amazing mileage he has logged over the decades and his childhood relationship with his father – has produced one of the greatest hockey stamp collections in the world.
At this rate, the stamp the hockey world might covet the most will be one with his face and name on it. He has done that much for the game.