Player: An Ivy-League educated Renaissance man, Stewart is not an ordinary athlete. Stewart holds the rare distinction of making the NHL twice: once as a player, and once as a referee. Growing up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, he attended the prestigious Groton School where he played of Varsity Hockey and was appointed to the position of Assistant Captain. He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania (where he majored in East Asian History) and was a defenseman from 1972-1975. Despite his educational pedigrees, Stewart built a hockey career as an enforcer. He played this role in various leagues, including the WHA, AHL, CHL, NAHL, and ECHL from 1975-83. His first NHL game was with the Quebec Nordiques against the Boston Bruins, on November 22, 1979. His last professional game was played in 1983.
Referee: Retirement from the game he loved brought Stewart new, unexpected challenges. It was a chance encounter with friend and mentor John McCauley that inspired Stewart to return to the game: Stewart joined the NHL Referee Trainee Program in 1983. Officiating his first NHL game on March 27, 1986, this was the start of a 17-year career that allowed Stewart to become the first American-born referee to officiate 1,000 games in the NHL, a feat he accomplished on March 15, 2003.
Survivor: Even more remarkable, Stewart made his triumphant return to the ice despite symptoms of and, later, treatment for Stage IV colon cancer. Stewart received this bleak diagnosis only hours after the birth of his first child, McCauley. True to his character, however, Stewart was determined to fight the disease and make it back to the NHL. Against all odds, Stewart accomplished this incredible feat only 9 months later, when he was welcomed back to the ice by colleagues and fans alike.
Speaker: Stewart has received multiple honors including the NASO Gold Whistle Award in 2001, and has spoken to many groups about his story of perseverance and dedication, and defying simultaneously critics and the odds. His message resonates with people from all walks of life: everyone experiences challenges and hardships. Stewart's message inspires others to achieve their own dreams and potential and to define their own path in life.
About: Stewart resides in Walpole, Mass. with his wife, Lori, and their two sons, McCauley and Maxwell.
Player, Referee, Survivor: Paul Stewart may be The Most Interesting Man In Hockey, but his story and his message transcend sports. His lifestory speaks to the heart of human achievement and determination. Despite countless setbacks, Paul's determination has empowered him to achieve what others only dream about. In that spirit, he's made his mark well beyond the world of hockey, inspiring people from all walks of life to find in themselves the will and the courage to achieve and survive even the most dire of circumstances.