New PDF release: A Referee's Life

By Ron Wicks

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

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Extra resources for A Referee's Life

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The NHL Beckons Leafs Training Camp In October of 1960, with my NHL invitation in hand, I boarded “The Canadian,” the overnight train from Sudbury to Toronto. Upon arrival, we were put up at the ritzy King Edward Hotel for the lofty sum of three dollars and fifty cents per night. The next day, a bunch of new rookies and I drove up to Peterborough, Ontario, where the Toronto Maple Leafs had their training camp. 3 The referee was Frank Udvari and the linesman was George Hayes. To say I was nervous and excited would be a classic understatement.

It was all I could do to keep the other team from assaulting him. The NHL sent down trainee linesmen to work in the Central League. One young French-Canadian linesman was having breakfast with me in Oklahoma City. ” The American League had some great teams in the 1950s and ’60s. Some players, like Johnny Bower, played there for years before getting a shot at the NHL. Johnny was owned outright by the Cleveland Barons and was content to stay there and play. He was probably making more money and had less pressure than in the big leagues.

Dad, Jim, Ron, Anita, and Mom, ca. 1950. 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.

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A Referee's Life by Ron Wicks


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