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In 1993, NCHC supervisor of officials had his own serious injury

Don Adam was in Chicago at the Big Ten headquarters on Jan. 26, when he heard that National Collegiate Hockey Conference referee Dan Dreger got hit with a puck in the face while officiating a game in Omaha.

Adam, the NCHC's supervisor of officials, arranged for Sterling Egan to travel from the Twin Cities to Omaha in time for Game 2 of the series.

He also checked in on Dreger.

Perhaps nobody could better empathize with Dreger than Adam, who was hit in the face by a puck while officiating an American Hockey League game in Albany, N.Y., in 1993.

Adam was hit by a deflected pass that broke or chipped 10 teeth and required 14 visits to the dentist during the span of a year and cost $10,000. Because Adam was under contract with the NHL at the time, the NHL picked up all of the medical expenses.

Adam said he spent five hours with Albany's team dentist the night he was hit, so he could be well enough to travel back home to Denver for more emergency dental work.

Adam, who was on the start of a nine-game, 13-day road trip, contacted his supervisor, Will Norris, and told him about the injury. Norris said: "Gee, Don, it's not like you broke an arm or a leg or anything. You can work tomorrow."

Adam's linesman had to get on the phone and explain to Norris how bad the injury was, and Norris apologized.

While Adam was with the dentist, the linesman went and bought him a six-pack of beer.

"I couldn't eat, so I drank a six-pack of Bud Light on an empty stomach, on painkillers, through a straw," Adam said.

Other officials instructed Adam to make sure he slept face up that night. He tried, but when he woke up, he was face down and his bed was covered in blood.

Adam pulled the bloody sheets off the bed and put them in the hallway. He happened to see a maid when he left his room and he apologized for the bloody sheets.

"That's OK," she said. "We have hockey teams staying here all the time."

At the airport, the United worker at the gate was giving Adam a hard time about not having a Saturday night stayover when he requested a flight change to get home for emergency surgery.

"You don't look that injured to me," the United employee said.

Adam leaned across the counter, grabbed his upper and lower lips and showed her his injury.

"Do you want a window or aisle seat?" she responded.

How did that injury change officiating for Adam?

"I can tell you that my reflexes were a lot faster after that," he said.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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