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)

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

 

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

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

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

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

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation planning ground analysis of land near former residential school

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Free boxes of fresh produce are currently being provided in Quesnel by the Canadian Mental Health Association of Northern BC thanks to a donation from West Fraser Mills. (File photo)
Fresh produce available for those in need in Quesnel

Donation allows Canadian Mental Health Association to provide free fruits and veggies

Elizabeth Pete is a survivor of St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
WATCH: Kamloops bound convoy greeted by Canim Lake Band along Highway 97

Well over two dozen members of the Tsq’escenemc people (Canim Lake Band) showed up

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read