Former National Hockey League (NHL) referee Mick McGeough, is being remembered by players, coaches, broadcasters, and NHL officials as a “true friend of the game,” after suffering a stroke last weekend and dying on Friday at the age of 62.
As Canadian magazine Sportsnet notes, the job of a sports official is to be basically invisible. Enforce the rules, fairly and judiciously, keep the game moving, and above all else, do not make it about you. Mick McGeough, however, threw all that out the window, maintaining an officiating style that can most charitably be described as “colorful,” in an era when an NHL game was considered boring if fewer than five fistfights took place.
For example, when signaling that a goal had been scored, McGeogh would stand on one leg and twirl his harms in a circular motion, something which would later be nicknamed “The Helicopter.”