Rob was one of my favourites because he was always in command of the game without being aloof. He had the unique ability to let a player express himself, but also give his own side of things in a manner that didn’t escalate the situation.
The relationship between a good referee and a goaltender is based on communication, exchanges back and forth that can usually dissipate any hard feelings.
He also had the ability to have a general conversation about even non-hockey related topics without ever taking the focus off the game.
Let me give you an example. You may recall back on Sept. 27, 1991, when I played with the Los Angeles Kings we played a pre-season game in Las Vegas in an outdoor arena created on the parking lot at Caesars Palace. During that game I wore a small camera and microphone giving the TV viewers an opportunity to see the game from a vantage point unlike anything they’ve ever seen before.
Shick was the lone referee that night and he and I had a conversation during a stoppage in play in the second period about Rob’s Charity Fishing Derby in his hometown of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
He even formally invited me to the Derby the following summer, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it work in my schedule.
It was that sort of bond and trust that he was able to gain with most of the players in his 1,321-game career.
When I played, I always checked the game notes just before heading out onto the ice. I wanted to see what officials were working that game and I remember feeling somewhat relieved whenever I saw Rob Shick’s name.
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