Wynters was the driving force behind the creation of both the "Road to the TD Garden" and "Bertagna Trophy" Tours, as well as the Hockey East Kids Club, and "Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer" initiative. After 11 seasons, the Skating Strides program has raised over $300,000 for grass roots breast cancer initiatives, while at the same time has increased attendance at women's hockey games and gave the student-athletes the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they study and play hockey. The Skating Strides program was recognized in May 2016 as a "100 Everyday Amazing" recipient. Sponsored by Mass General Hospital, this international award program honors individuals and groups — caregivers, researchers, philanthropists, advocates and volunteers from around the globe — whose commitment to the fight against cancer is inspirational.
A native of Quincy, Massachusetts, the former Kathy Walsh earned a B.S. degree in marketing from Providence College in 1982. She began her career while an undergraduate, as a three-year intern with the men's hockey team. Following graduation, she served the Friars in two capacities; first as Assistant Sports Information Director (primary men's hockey contact) and then as Assistant Athletic Director, Athletic Marketing. While at PC, and before Hockey East had a full-time staff, Wynters worked with former PC athletic director, and then Commissioner, Lou Lamoriello on the launch of the conference in 1983, and then coordinated the first three Hockey East championship tournaments (1985-87). She also served as Tournament Director for the 1986 NCAA Men's Frozen Four at the Providence Civic Center, co-hosted by Brown and Providence College.
In 1988, Wynters left her position at PC and moved over to Hockey East on a full-time basis, where she served the conference as Assistant Commissioner during the late 80's and early 90's, before going on to work for the New Jersey Devils in the NHL, spending three years as a Marketing Director, coordinating licensing and souvenir merchandising. Among her earlier accomplishments at Hockey East, Wynters worked with Joe Bertagna in coordinating the first and only "Hockeyfest" events, combining the ECAC and Hockey East championships into single weekend events from 1989-91.
Kathy and her husband Chuck (a retired on-ice official for Hockey East), reside in Waltham, Massachusetts. They have two grown children: daughter Annie (25), is a high school special education teacher, and son Charles (24), is a certified athletic trainer (ATC).
In his first three years with Hockey East, Smith has revitalized the digital presence of the conference by revamping the league website, HockeyEastOnline.com, and its social media channels to develop the most heavily followed accounts in college hockey. Smith also served as the main media contact for the 2015 Frozen Four, hosted by Hockey East and the TD Garden, and assisted in the successful execution of the Friendship Four Tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Frozen Fenway events. He has also played a key role in Hockey East's television negotiations, while spearheading new digital ventures for the league.
Smith has been involved with numerous other endeavors during his time with Hockey East, including assisting with multiple NCAA Ice Hockey Officiating Department programs, serving on the media relations team at the 2016 and 2017 Frozen Fours, directing the 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, aiding with the media operations of the American Hockey Coaches Association, and serving as Assistant Venue Press Officer for Gillette Stadium during the 2016 Copa América Centenario. Prior to joining the conference in July 2014, Smith spent two years with USA Hockey as the Brian Fishman Intern, a prestigious program that develops young professionals in the athletic communications business. Dividing his time with USA Hockey between the national office in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the National Team Development Program, then located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Smith traveled extensively while assisting in numerous international tournaments as the main media contact for U.S. national teams. While with the NTDP, Smith served as the main media contact for both the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-18 teams. Additionally, Smith played an integral role in the execution of the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
Smith also has spent time working with the Boston Bruins and New England Revolution in various roles. With the Bruins from 2010-12, Smith worked alongside a communications staff that received the Dick Dillman Award and was charged with media relations duties during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. With the New England Revolution, Smith oversaw donations for the New England Revolution Charitable Foundation and assisted with all match day operations, including international friendlies at Gillette Stadium.
A former high school hockey player at Woburn Memorial High School, Smith is a 2012 graduate of Boston College with a degree in English and Communications and earned four varsity letters in track and field while competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Pflieger was also a student-athlete on the gymnastics team. In her final season in 2017, Pflieger served as co-captain as the team qualified for NCAA Regionals for the fourth straight year. Pflieger received Senior EAGL Gymnast of the Year for her final season, based on performance amongst all seniors competing in the EAGL Conference. At the UNH Wildcats Senior Awards Banquet in the spring, Pflieger received the Community Involvement Award, which recognizes two senior student-athletes who exemplify commitment to serving the University, UNH athletic department, and the greater community.
A native of Barneveld, New York, and she hopes to pursue a career in Sports Management.
During her time at UNH, Stacey became a member of the sorority: Alpha Xi Delta. In the spring of 2016, she studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, where she interned at the National Library of Technology while studying communication, new media, and journalism. A native of Bangor, Maine, she attended Bangor High School and participated in competitive cheerleading at Cheer Magic All-Stars. In the future, Carolyn hopes to return to school to earn a master's degree in Business Administration while continuing a career path in sports.
History of Hockey East's Intern Program
1st season – 2006-07: Scott Donnelly (Providence); now Assoc. Athletic Director at Fordham
2nd season – 2007-08: Andrew Bartlett (Providence); now working at Boston College
3rd season – 2008-09: Elizabeth Fierman (Boston University); worked as SID at UMass-Lowell, now working at ESPN
4th season – 2009-10: Stephanie Bambury (St. Mike's grad, but worked at Vermont as a jr & sr); also did an internship with Red Sox after HE; now Assistant Athletic Director at Arizona State University
5th season – 2010-11: Greg Rosa (Boston College); now Director of Marketing for Manchester (NH) Monarchs (ECHL Hockey)
6th season – 2011-12: Andrew Zagorianakos (Maine); now Equipment Manager at Providence
7th season – 2012-13: Kristen Blake (Northeastern); now working in insurance industry
8th season – 2013-14: Mike Brown (Northeastern); now working at NESN; also Communications Game Night Staff for Boston Bruins
9th season – 2014-15: Keagan Gallagher (Vermont); now working at Boston College Men's Hockey - And Andrew Veneziano (Boston College); now working in real estate
10th season – 2015-16: Suzanne Friedman (Vermont/Northeastern); now working at Kraft Group - And Justin Martino (Connecticut); now in law school
11th season - 2016-17: Geoff Dion (Merrimack) and Ryan Smith (Boston College)
12th season - 2017-18: Meghan Pflieger (New Hampshire) and Carolyn Stacey (New Hampshire)
Schachte finished a 30-year career as an National Hockey League linesman in 2011-12. He worked 2,009 regular-season games in the NHL dating back to 1982, which ranks fifth all-time and first all-time among American-born NHL officials. He also worked 221 Stanley Cup playoff games, which ranks eighth all-time among NHL linesman. He worked five Stanley Cup Finals ('97, '98, '00, '01, '02) and worked Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. He was one of a select group chosen as linesmen for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, completing his duties with the Bronze Medal Game.
Schachte also served on the NHLOA Discipline Committee from 2002 to 2010, as well as the NHLOA Executive Board (1991-1992) and the NHL Injury Analysis Panel in 2002. He has served as an Officiating Supervisor for USA Hockey since 2011, mentoring many of the top young officials in the United States with instruction and training at camps around the country. Schachte was a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and United States Hockey League (USHL) referee for two years (1980-1982), and co-founded the Wisconsin Elite Hockey League (WEHL) in 2006.
Schachte studied Mechanical Enginering at the University of Wisconsin. He resides in Verona, Wisconsin, with his wife Kim and children, Danny, Ian, Lauren and Maddy.
DeCaprio, a native of Arlington, Massachusetts, has enjoyed a wide range of hockey experiences since his graduation from Boston University in 1968. Following his playing days for Jack Kelley, DeCaprio became a referee, working high school and college games, including Hockey East games, for more than two decades. Toward the end of his officiating career, he began assigning high school games in the Greater Boston area.
Professionally, DeCaprio has been a teacher and administrator in the Arlington Public Schools for nearly 40 years. After serving as an assistant coach in both football and ice hockey at Arlington, DeCaprio succeeded the legendary Eddie Burns as head hockey coach of Arlington's storied program in 1997. In that time, he has compiled an outstanding record of 129-55-22, leading the Spy Ponders to six league titles and six appearances in the prestigious "Super Eight" tournament. His contributions to high school hockey have earned him induction into the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association's Hall of Fame as both a referee and a coach.
Beyond these experiences, DeCaprio enjoyed two different stints as an assistant coach at UMass Lowell (1969-70 and 1989-91) and also served as a scout for the St. Louis Blues from 1985 to 1988. An outstanding teacher, DeCaprio has also directed the Spy Pond Power Skating Hockey School and Clinic since 1980. He and his wife Marsha reside in Chelmsford.
Chuck Napoli begins his seventh season as an observer for Hockey East.
Napoli has worked part-time for the Boston Bruins as a video goal judge since 1991 in addition to his full-time job at Raytheon as an area supervisor since 1979.
Napoli, a 1988 graduate of Northeastern University, is a lifelong resident of Belmont and has a daughter Elena and grandson Jacob.
Kevin SeifertNFL NationClose
- ESPN.com national NFL writer
- ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013
- Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008
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Officiating assignments for the divisional round are important on a number of levels. The members of these crews handle the critical games that determine the championship round, of course. And, generally speaking, they also constitute the pool from which the NFL will staff the Super Bowl.
Yes, one of the four referees working this weekend is expected to be assigned to Super Bowl LII. The group includes two veterans and two of the league's newest referees. They will all work with scrambled crews of "all-star" officials, but because a referee sets the tone for any crew, it's worth recalling their regular-season tendencies. The numbers include declined and offsetting fouls.
Note: All data is culled from either research by ESPN Stats & Information or Pro Football Reference. Historical references begin in 1999.
No. 6 Atlanta Falcons at No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday: 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC | Game HQ
Referee: Bill Vinovich | Falcons' record in his games: 7-3 | Eagles' record in his games: 2-6
Vinovich is annually one of the least flag-happy NFL referees, and 2017 was no different. In fact, as the chart shows, he averaged the lowest number of penalties per game (11.6) -- a full three flags fewer than the next-lowest referee. His regular-season crew threw just three flags in one game this season, five in another, six in two others and more than 17 only once.
Penalties per game by referee: 2017
The Falcons saw Vinovich in their Week 17 victory over the Panthers, in which his crew threw 13 flags. As it turns out, Vinovich was also the referee for the Eagles' most recent playoff game, a 26-24 loss to the Saints in the 2013 wild-card round.
His 2017 crew ranked near the bottom of the individual frequency charts, most notably in the category handled solely by the referee: roughing the passer (two).
No. 5 Tennessee Titans at No. 1 New England Patriots
Saturday: 8:15p.m. ET, CBS | Game HQ
Referee: Ron Torbert | Titans' record in his games: 2-1 | Patriots' record in his games: 3-0
Torbert's regular-season crew averaged the NFL's third-most penalties per game, but, with any luck, his activity will be moderate this weekend, given the teams on the field. The Patriots and Titans ranked third and fourth in the NFL, respectively, in fewest penalties this season.
The Titans probably don't have fond memories of their most recent game with Torbert, when his crew failed to enforce the "Holy Roller" rule late in the first half in the Titans' 40-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. The mistake put the Steelers in position for a 50-yard field goal attempt just before halftime.
Patriots fans will be reassured to know that Torbert's crew called only six offensive pass interference fouls, tied for fourth fewest in the NFL. The Patriots were called for eight OPI fouls in the regular season, tied for most in the league, including three by tight end Rob Gronkowski.
No. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday: 1:05 p.m. ET, CBS | Game HQ
Referee: Brad Allen | Jaguars' record in his games: 1-1 | Steelers' record in his games: 2-1
Like Torbert, Allen is in his fourth season as an NFL referee. His crew ranked well below the NFL average in penalty frequency for three of those years, including 2017. Nevertheless, it threw a league-high combined 51 flags during the regular season for either defensive pass interference, defensive holding or illegal contact. The gap was especially pronounced for defensive holding; Allen's crew called 30 while the other 16 crews averaged 18.0.
Hopefully, that tendency won't carry into the playoffs. The Jaguars were called for an NFL-low nine combined penalties for defensive pass interference, defensive holding or illegal contact. The Steelers were called for the second lowest with 12. The average for the rest of the NFL was 21.3.
No. 4 New Orleans Saints at No. 2 Minnesota Vikings
Sunday: 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX | Game HQ
Referee: Gene Steratore | Saints' record in his games: 6-7 | Vikings' record in his games: 5-5
This will be Steratore's second Saints-Vikings game in the past five months. He also worked the teams' Week 1 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium, throwing 15 flags in the Vikings' 29-19 victory.
He produced one of the season's strangest moments in Week 15, using a notecard to help measure a first down on a key fourth down in the Dallas Cowboys' 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Afterward, NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron reminded referees that foreign objects should not be part of the process. Steratore's crew threw at least 20 flags in four games during the season and overall was tied with Torbert as the league's second-most active crew (17.1 per game).