Former NHL referee Mick McGeough was one of a kind

Former NHL referee Mick McGeough was \one of a kind\
Retired NHL referee Mick McGeough to be removed from life support
Retired NHL referee Michael “Mick” McGeough suffered a stroke last Sunday and, after his condition worsened, will be removed from life support.

McGeough, 62, was hospitalized after showing the early signs of a stroke. He later consulted with a neurosurgeon in Saskatoon to explore treatment options for removing the remaining clots at the back of his brain. The damage proved to be irreversible.

“I’m screaming and yelling from the bench, and Mick McGeough skates over and says to (head coach George Kingston) ‘tell him to shut up,” Remenda recalled. “As Mick skates away, I’m yelling at him ‘you bleeping tell me to shut up,’ so he stops and skates back over to the bench, gets right in front of me and says ‘SHUT UP.”

He has returned to Regina to be with his family. On Friday, it was announced all life sustaining measures will be stopped.

The Regina-born retired official was hospitalized after showing early signs of a stroke on Sunday. He was then flown to Saskatoon, where a neurosurgeon determined the blood clots in McGeough’s brain couldn’t be removed.

McGeough began his NHL officiating career in 1987. He was among the last NHL officials to officiate NHL games without wearing a helmet. In total, he officiated 1,083 regular season games, 63 playoff games, and the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.

“When the game was over, it was over,” Tim said. “He could sit down and have a coffee or a beer with any of the players at any given time … it was nice to see the respect both ways.”

Former NHL referee Mick McGeough, from Regina, died Friday night after suffering a stroke last weekend.

His son, Luke, tweeted Friday that “we peacefully said goodbye to Mick McGeough” on Friday at 11:23 p.m.

“There will never be another Mick McGeough,” WHL senior director of officiating Kevin Muench said. “He was one of a kind, on the ice and off the ice.”

McGeough debuted as a WHL official in 1981, six years before working his first of 1,083 NHL regular-season games.

Michael “Mick” McGeough (back centre) refereed over 1,000 NHL games in the span of 21 years and was inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. (GoFundMe)

“Mick was an entertainer,” said the Moose Jaw-born Muench, an accomplished official in his own right.

“He was like the Eddie Shack of officials. He was energized and flamboyant on the ice, and a great story-teller off the ice.

“Whereever you saw Mick, he was the centre of attention. Whether it was lunch at training camp or out for a beer after playing ball or golf, everybody wanted to sit at Mick’s table. You were guaranteed to hear some great stories.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the expenses related to McGeough’s emergency transportation between Regina and Saskatoon.

“And he never told a story the same way twice. It got better and more embellished every time he told it! That was Mick.”

McGeough, now 62, began his NHL officiating career in 1987 and ended up being one of the last referees to not wear a helmet in the league.

McGeough retired in 2008 after 20 NHL seasons, but remained involved with the league in a supervisory capacity. His resume also included 63 post-season games, including assignments during the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

Green Zone hockey analyst and former San Jose Sharks assistant coach Drew Remenda said “he was one of the good ones.”

When asked about his career highlight as he prepared to hang up his whistle, McGeough said: “A lot of people have asked me that question and I’ll tell you how I answered them: My career highlight was being able to work in the National Hockey League.

“The league has treated me phenomenally. I can’t even explain how well they’ve treated me. It has been an absolute pleasure to work for them.”

McGeough’s brother said he commanded the respect of players, even if there were calls they disagreed with.

McGeough remained involved with the NHL as a supervisor of officials. He served the league in that capacity in a decade.

“My last memory of Mick will be from the Memorial Cup this past May in Regina,” Muench said. “He invited a bunch of us old friends to his hotel room after a game one night. We had a drink and ordered some pizza, and sat around and listened to Mick tell stories until tears were running down our cheeks with laughter. That is how it always was with Mick.

He refereed 1,083 regular season games and 63 playoff games — including the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.

“His family, his friends, the hockey world, and the officiating world, we will all miss the enthusiasm he brought to life and to our great game of hockey.”

McGeough was hospitalized last weekend in Regina after showing early signs of a stroke. As his condition worsened, he was transported to Saskatoon for a consultation with a neurosurgeon to explore options for removing clots at the back of his brain.

“He went in fighting, just like the Mick we all know and love,” read a statement issued by McGeough’s family on Friday.

The damage was determined to be irreversible and McGeough was brought back to Regina to be with his family and to “go on his terms.” The family announced Friday that he had been removed from life support.

“He represented all that was good in the game he loved,” Sportsnet’s John Shannon tweeted Saturday.