Behind this temporary wall is the ‘NHL bubble’, where once players and officials get behind it, they will be isolated due to special COVID-19 restrictions. (PHOTO COURTESY ROB SHICK)

NHL’s Rob Shick goes ‘inside the bubble’ for pro hockey’s restart

B.C.-born senior officiating manager heads to camp in Toronto, missing his B.C. golf classic

The National Hockey League’s B.C.-born senior officiating manager is inside the “NHL bubble” in Toronto now.

Rob Shick, originally from Port Alberni, crossed through the barriers on Thursday, July 23, and won’t come out now until the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs—possibly not until October.

National Hockey League players began arriving in the twin NHL bubbles of Toronto and Edmonton on Sunday, July 26. Twenty-four teams will compete in a restart of the season, which was interrupted in March thanks to the coronavirus epidemic.

“I’ll be there until anywhere from 45-50 days by the time we get out of there,” Shick said last week from his home in Florida.

“I’ll be looking after the officials that are in Toronto, then I’ll be interacting with the coaches and general managers—all inside the bubble.”

READ: Retired NHL referee Rob Shick heads to BC Sports Hall of Fame

Security will be tight inside the two NHL sites, with security fencing separating NHL teams and personnel from the general population. Everyone inside will be undergoing daily COVID-19 testing.

“Once we’re in the bubble we’re not allowed to go out,” Shick explained.

Each bubble will be self-contained, with 14 restaurants for players and staff as well as concierge service for players to receive delivery. An outdoor recreation facility has been created at BMO Field in Toronto, where the Toronto FC plays MLS soccer and the Argonauts ordinarily play their Canadian Football League games.

“It will be quite extensive,” he said. The hockey arena where games will be played has been set up with “20 or 30” cameras, he said, which will give fans watching on television a superior experience. “It’s going to look amazing on TV.”

Shick is the compliance officer for his group of officials, and must check in daily with the NHL to let them know everyone has had a temperature checked before they leave the hotel, have had their daily COVID-19 nasal swab and have been wearing their masks.

READ: Alberni Golf Classic has long, strong history with NHL officials

Shick should have been in Port Alberni earlier in July for the annual Charity Golf Classic at the Alberni Golf Club, which he started in 1994. He returns to play in it every year.

“Normally I would have already been up there for the golf tournament, which is the highlight of my year: getting out of the weather in Florida, seeing friends and family, and raising money for charity. This is a different time and we’ve had to make adjustments.

“Hopefully next year I’ll be back up for the tournament.”

The golf club hasn’t found a replacement for raising money for the various charities that benefited, including BC Children’s Hospital, said Gerry Fagan of the organizing committee.

“We’ve had a few people from out of town show up who are regulars at the tournament,” Fagan added. Former Alberni Valley Bulldog assistant coach Adam Hayduk, CTV Morning Live co-anchor Jason Pires, Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel and Tony Powell—Shick’s cousin from Campbell River—have all come to play golf this summer; “they all said that they missed the tournament,” Fagan said.

Shick spent the early part of the pandemic at home in Florida, but said the resulting disease—COVID-19—hasn’t affected him personally beyond a seven-day quarantine. His wife, Lynda Frye, is a doctor specializing in women’s breast cancer, and one of his sons is also a frontline worker. “My wife works in the (health-care) business so she sees more than I do, and my son is a firefighter now.

“They see more on the front lines but are fine for now.”

Shick worked on nailing down the officiating side of the NHL restart and Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s been challenging, he noted, because there aren’t many direct flights to bring referees to the NHL bubble cities. “We’ve all had to have tests for COVID-19 before leaving. I’ve had three tests in one week and will be tested again on a daily basis in Toronto. We’ll be wearing masks. We’re settled right into a hotel.

“It’s going to be challenging, but at the same time exciting to get hockey on TV for everybody.”



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

hockeyNHLPORT ALBERNI

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Tournament director Bruce MacDonald presents Rob Shick with framed copies of a poster from the first charity golf classic 25 years ago. SONJA DRINKWATER PHOTO

Rob Shick, who first started the Alberni Valley Charity Golf Classic, is happy to see it still continues after 25 years, and that it is still benefiting BC Children’s Hospital. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

National Hockey League senior officiating manager Rob Shick, from Port Alberni, B.C., has been an NHL official in some capacity for 35 years. FILE PHOTO

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Routine medical check for adult canadians; what you need to know

Preventive Medicine is a proactive method of health care delivery. Its’ aim… Continue reading

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read