The hockey world is mourning the loss of Michael “Mick” McGeough.
The long-time referee who officiated many games in Saskatchewan before moving on to the National Hockey League where he worked 1,083 regular-season games and another 63 playoff games died on Friday after being pulled off life support.
His biggest claim to fame as a referee may have come in the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs when he was barrelled over by Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph during a playoff game in Ottawa
The 62-year-old was sent to Saskatoon last Sunday after he showed the early signs of a stroke. A meeting with a neurosurgeon determined the damage that had been caused could not be repaired.
It was decided on Friday he should be pulled from life support.
It did not take long for tributes to start pouring in on social media
Our thoughts are with Mick Mcgeough and his family. The hockey world will miss you.
— Mike Modano (@9modano) November 24, 2018
— gary lawless (@garylawless) November 24, 2018
Long time NHL referee and Officiating Supervisor Mick McGeough passed away last night after suffering a stroke earlier in the week. He represented all that was good in the game he loved. He will be sorely missed. Gone far too early. He was 62.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) November 24, 2018
The NHL released a statement from Commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday. That release stated:
The National Hockey League lost a true friend of the game last night with the passing of Mick McGeough,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “As one of the League’s top referees for 21 years from 1987-88 until his retirement following the 2007-08 season, Mick’s passion for the game shone through on a nightly basis. He earned and maintained respect from players, coaches, general managers and his peers throughout his career with a unique style that combined humility and humor with decisiveness and fairness. The NHL family extends its deepest sympathies to his wife Angie and his five children – Jared, Luke, Kara, Karlie and Isaac.”
After word of the stroke hit, a GoFundMe campaign was set up to help his family with expenses. That campaign has already surpassed the goal of $10,000 with many former NHL officials and players donating money.
McGeough is a member of both the Regina Sports Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame.