A Hamilton native, Bill Friday is the only hockey referee to ever work the Stanley Cup finals in the National Hockey League and the Avco Cup finals in the World Hockey Association.
Known for his flamboyant style Friday was a whistleblower in 1,425 games in both leagues.
A former Junior B and minor hockey league player for Hamilton Aerovox, Friday worked as an on-ice official in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1955 to 1959. He joined the NHL staff the following year and worked games there until 1972. That’s when the WHL lured him to join upstart league.
Friday worked the very first WHA game in 1973 and officiated the very last game the league played in 1979. He was appointed the WHA referee-in-chief in 1976.
His jump to the WHA is credited with raising NHL officials’ salaries. He was also a founder and first president of the NHL Officials Association.