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National Hockey League referee Bruce Hood skates past Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mirko Frycer during an NHL game in Toronto in a 1983 file photo.The Canadian Press

Bruce Hood, who refereed more than 1,100 NHL games over 21 seasons, died Friday after a four-year battle with prostate cancer.

Kevin Hood said his father died at a hospice in Guelph, Ont. He was 81.

Mr. Hood was on the ice for some of the NHL's most iconic moments during his more than two decades as an official, including Bobby Orr's overtime goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup final that won the Bruins their first title in nearly 30 years.

"He wanted to be the best at everything he did in his life, and refereeing was no exception," Kevin said in an interview.

Mr. Hood officiated 1,033 regular-season games, 157 playoff games, three all-star games and three Canada Cups.

"Bruce Hood brought professionalism and integrity to every game he worked and earned the respect of the players, coaches, general managers – as well as his peers," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "In addition to his command of the game and his ability to communicate on the ice, Bruce had a characteristic calmness that brought his excellence to the fore when the pressure was greatest."

Mr. Hood, who was instrumental in the formation of the NHL Officials Association in 1969, also refereed the "Good Friday Massacre" brawl between the Montreal Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques in the 1984 playoffs. The fisticuffs started at the end of the second period and spilled over into the third when the teams returned from the locker-rooms, eventually leading to 252 minutes in penalties and 11 ejections.

Mr. Hood, who ran camps for young officials and developed new equipment for referees, retired after the 1984 playoffs and got into the travel business, eventually becoming president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agents.

He authored two books on hockey – Calling the Shots in 1988 and The Good of the Game in 1999 – and tried his hand at politics with the Liberals, losing a tight race in the riding of Wellington-Halton Hills in the 2004 federal election.

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