By Ron Wicks
From the minors to the massive time, former NHL referee Ron Wicks recounts existence off and on the ice.
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The best part was watching Detroit’s Gordie Howe and Toronto’s Johnny Bower embracing after the game and discussing how they were going to go fishing together in Saskatchewan as soon as they could. I remember being on the lines in the 1964 Stanley Cup finals, when Bobby Baun of the Leafs was removed from the ice in the third period on a stretcher to the infirmary, where it was determined that he had a broken ankle. Baun had the ankle frozen and put his foot back into his skate. He then came back and scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
M. starts. After playing for three years, I had just turned seventeen (at a husky 140 pounds), and was too old to play in that league. I figured I would like to become a referee, so I was told to buy a referee’s sweater and a whistle. With that, I took over refereeing the games, alternating with Ralph McKenny, another former player. There were no referees’ clinics in those days. You just got yourself a rule book, tied on the skates, and went out and did the job. I got two dollars a game. Wow! The games had only one official, me!
Then I also tossed the Hawks’ Dick Redmond out of the game — for a trifecta! I recall after the game we had about six undercover Chicago police officers swarming around our dressing room, and they drove us back to our hotel, as a fan had phoned in a death threat on me. It was just another night at the office; we thought it was great, because we saved on cab fare! At first, the League dawdled around and did not take any further disciplinary action against White for the headlock. I remember telling my mentor (and at this point, my boss), Frank Udvari, that if White were not disciplined prior to my next game three nights later in Pittsburgh, my sore neck was going into spasm and I was going to call my doctor and my lawyer, and not necessarily in that order!
A Referee's Life by Ron Wicks