Longtime NHL referee Mick McGeough dies at 62

Longtime NHL referee Mick McGeough died Friday in Regina, Saskatchewan. He had been on life support after suffering a stroke Sunday. He was 62.

McGeough’s son, Luke, tweeted, “We peacefully said goodbye to Mick McGeough” on Friday at 11:23 p.m.,” canoe.com reported.

“The National Hockey League lost a true friend of the game last night with the passing of Mick McGeough,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday in a statement.

“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.”

McGeough refereed 1,083 regular-season games and 63 playoff games, cbc.ca notes

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, McGeough was hospitalized Sunday morning with early signs of a stroke. His conditioned deteriorated in the days that followed.

“It is with sad hearts that we are letting you know that Mick will not be recovering, the damage is irreversible,” the family wrote. “He has been brought back to Regina to be with his family at this time. Life support will be removed, and he will go on his terms. Thank you so much for your generous support.”

Stephen Walkom, a former NHL referee and contemporary of McGeough’s who is now the NHL’s director of officiating, said, “Mick was the consummate communicator. Mick had the tremendous ability to tell stories – sharing his knowledge of the rules and insights into the game with everyone he met. He was also a great teacher who took pride in inspiring and developing officials through his love for the game.”