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Pavelich began officiating when he was 14 working minor hockey games in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. By the time he was 20, he was referee-in-chief of the Northern Michigan Intermediate League.
Pavelich worked in the American Hockey League in the 1955 – 1956 season but at age 22, he made his NHL debut October 11, 1956. His older brother Marty Pavelich had been a player with the Detroit Red Wings since 1947 and when the younger Pavelich joined the NHL in 1956, it marked the first time in NHL history that there had been a player/official brother combination.
Career in the NHLEdit
Pavelich retired after 31 years and 1,727 regular season games, second only to Neil Armstrong. He also officiated 245 playoff games, second only to John D'Amico. After that Pavelich became the NHL's supervisor of officials for referee-in-chief Scotty Morrison. In 1987, Pavelich was the first linesman inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.