Neil Armstrong (ice hockey)

David Neil Armstrong (20 December 1932 – 6 December 2020) was a Canadian professional ice hockey linesman and an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.[1][2]

Neil Armstrong
David Neil Armstrong

(1932-12-20)December 20, 1932
Plympton, Ontario, Canada
DiedDecember 6, 2020(2020-12-06) (aged 87)
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
OccupationNHL linesman
Years active1957–1978
HonorsHockey Hall of Fame (1991)


Armstrong began playing minor hockey in Galt, Ontario, but he never did go beyond that. He was offered a chance to officiate a game in the same league. Armstrong accepted and later earned his Ontario Hockey Association certification.

He officiated his first National Hockey League game on November 17, 1957, when he was 24. In the game, which was between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, the two teams got into a brawl near the end of the game. Armstrong broke up a fight involving Fern Flaman, who later skated up to him with his arm dangling and proclaimed "you broke my arm!". However it turned out that Flaman was only kidding.

During his career, he had only been seriously injured once and had never missed any games, which helped him gain the nickname "ironman". His one major injury came in 1971 when Philadelphia Flyers player Gary Dornhoefer fell along the boards, and knocked Armstrong up against the glass. Dornhoefer's stick cut Armstrong's hand and broke a bone, forcing him to wear a cast for three months. On October 16, 1973, Armstrong was honoured in a ceremony at the Detroit Olympia for officiating his 1,314th game, which broke the previous record set by George Hayes.[3]

In total, Armstrong officiated a total of 1,744 games and retired in 1978.[4] After retiring, he became a scout for the Montreal Canadiens. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as an official in 1991.

Armstrong has two children, daughter Lezleigh and son, Doug Armstrong, who became general manager of the Dallas Stars. Following his tenure with Dallas, Doug became the executive vice president and general manager of the St. Louis Blues and won the Stanley Cup in 2019.[5]


  1. ^ Neil Armstron's obituary
  2. ^ The hockey world mourns the passing of Hall of Fame linesman Neil Armstrong
  3. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE: PRO HOCKEY; Two Named to Hall". New York Times. 1991-03-28. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  4. ^ "Neil Armstrong – Legends of Hockey". Hockey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2004-08-28. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  5. ^ McGourty, John (2004-10-22). "Armstrong learned from the masters". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2007-12-30.

External linksEdit