Officiating at the highest levels of hockey for parts of four decades, Kevin Collins (Springfield, Mass.) became one of the game’s most respected officials, accumulating a résumé that includes more than 2,000 NHL games as a linesman. His 296 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs rank as the most by an American official. And his 32 games in the Stanley Cup Finals place him second among American officials behind only William “Bill” Chadwick, whose induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame preceded Collins’ by 43 years. Upon Collins’ formal induction, he and Chadwick will stand as the only Hall inductees to earn enshrinement exclusively for their accomplishments as on-ice officials.
Known for his integrity, athleticism and strong skating ability, Collins worked 28 years in the NHL (1977-2005), including 12 appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals. His career also included working four Canada Cup tournaments, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in addition to a pair of NHL All-Star Games (1988 and 1993).
Collins was a pioneer in the development of officiating as a whole. In 1974, he founded the Western New England School of Officiating which, at the time, was the only officiating school conducted in the U.S. and provided the foundation for hundreds of budding professional officials. In 1983, Collins helped USA Hockey create its Officiating Summer Development Camp program and its officiating manual series, both of which remain in use and serve as core components of USA Hockey’s Officiating Development Program. Collins also taught at numerous USA Hockey officiating camps and seminars.
Beyond his service as an on-ice official, Collins has also volunteered countless hours to amateur hockey in Massachusetts, serving as a youth hockey coach and director while also coordinating free officiating workshops throughout New England.