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

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

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

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

The Keremeos Grist Mill and Gards is preparing for another season of their Pantry Share program, distributing monthly packages with preserves like the one taken in the photo above. (Grist Mill Facebook)
Shares in heritage community garden program go on sale

The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos is bringing back its Pantry Share for 2021

Expect cold weather and snow over the weekend. (Submitted photo)
Prepare for subzero weekend in South Okanagan

Expect some snow to start falling Saturday night and into Sunday

Skaha Middle School
Arrest made in indecent acts near Penticton schools

A 32-year-old man was arrested and released on strict conditions, say police

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

The North Okanagan Naturalists' Club completed its annual swan and eagle counts Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Claude Rioux - NONC photo)
North Okanagan bird count shows decrease in swan and eagle numbers

Trumpeter swans were down 61 per cent from last year’s count; eagles down 14 per cent

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

Lake Country firefighters helped deliver a healthy newborn baby Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020. (Pixabay)
Lake Country firefighters help deliver baby boy

Firefighters from the Winfield hall assisted with the birth of a healthy newborn Thursday morning

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

An individual at Rutland Senior Secondary school has tested positive for COVID-19. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Individual at Central Okanagan school tests positive for COVID-19

Authorities say the person is self-isolating at home with support from local health teams

Most Read