By Ron Wicks

From the minors to the large time, former NHL referee Ron Wicks recounts existence off and on the ice.

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I clearly recall the discussion during which he informed Mr. Fisher that he had a young man sitting across the desk from him shaking like a leaf. True! He then informed Mr. Fisher that the game officials had made the proper call and were strictly following the orders of the League president. He further stated that if the Montreal Star ever wanted another statement on any issue from the League office, they were to print a retraction and state that it was he, Clarence Campbell, who had instructed the officials to drop the puck in order to galvanize (and he spelled it out) the Leafs club into action!

As officials, we all figured Toe had to be suspended, but he was only fined $2,000 for punching the referee. He was still allowed to coach the next game two nights later at the Stadium. Prior to the next game, referee Eddie Powers informed the Montreal captain that he did not want to hear one word from the Canadiens bench during the ensuing game — and we didn’t. My first NHL contract and 1960 list of officials — wow! Author’s Collection / National Hockey League Montreal had won five consecutive Stanley Cups, but never recovered from this loss.

Whenever “Slats” would get on my case for being a lousy ref, I might mention that he was the future consideration in most trades while he was a player. The players on his team thought it was hilarious that we would natter back and forth — he on the bench, and me on the ice. Edmonton was so cocky and good in the early ’80s that we referees had to do something to keep them a little in line. Apparently, Edmonton’s great breakout offence, accentuating skating and the need for open ice, came from Sather watching a Swedish midget team do their thing.

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