By Ron Wicks

From the minors to the large time, former NHL referee Ron Wicks recounts lifestyles off and on the ice.

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I was the only guest in the hotel. I returned home January twelfth, having missed Christmas and New Year’s, and Lisa had grown teeth in the meantime! Ron and linesmen Claude Bechard and Will Norris, ca. 1975. Three dapper officials! Manuel V. Rubi Prior to expansion, most teams played over the Christmas and New Year season — Christmas Day was just another night, and the show must go on. My first boss, Carl Voss, used to tell us to celebrate our Christmas in July with our playoff bonuses — and we did.

Author’s Collection Around this time I also became a “rink rat” at the McIntyre Arena in neighbouring Schumacher; it was a great spot to hang around as a youngster. This rink was one of the first places to have artificial ice year round. There, I had an opportunity to watch a young, flashy Frank Mahovlich play hockey for the Schumacher Lions in the early 1950s, and I took up the game. Another great thrill for a young male was that the arena complex also had an outstanding figure-skating facility where numerous young ladies came to practise figure skating during the summer months.

In the early ’60s, most teams and officials travelled by train. Some of the more interesting trips were after a Saturday night game in Montreal. Both teams and the game officials would grab a quick shower and then we would all rush to catch the overnight train, generally to either Boston or New York. Each team had different sleeping cars on the same train, with the officials in another car, but we all had to have breakfast together. m. It livened things up a bit more if the kindly old coaches realized at the train station that they were stuck with the same referee for the Sunday night game.

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A Referee's Life by Ron Wicks

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