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

Penticton mail carriers ask dog owners to keep pets secured

Loose dogs have put mail carriers in danger and made physical distancing difficult

Penticton restaurant ranked among world’s best by TripAdvisor

The Hooded Merganser was ranked within the top 10 per cent of all restaurants by TripAdvisor reviews

Highway 97 upgrade option for Peachland faces 20-year delay

Peachland council disappointed by highways department decision

Penticton Museum and Archives prepares to reopen

Current exhibit explores the historical relationship between sports and military

RCMP, BC Coroners Service investigate drowning in Penticton

Incident occurred on afternoon of Aug. 11, 2020

Video: SUV burns alongside the highway near Salmon Arm

Footage of the burning vehicle was posted to Youtube.

Federal Conservative leadership candidate skirts COVID-19 rules at Kelowna rally

Derek Sloan held a rally in Kelowna that had over 50 people, which is against health orders from the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

Kelowna Hells Angels prospect charged with assault, choking

Jason Townsend, 43, was charged after allegedly choking a woman last weekend

Wedding party bear sprayed at North Okanagan campsite

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Most Read