Happy Father's Day to all of the dads and granddads out there. I miss my dad every day, but I sill hear his voice when I am in need of sage advice.
A good friend and longtime NHL colleague of mine, linesman Mike Cvik, has had better Father's Days than the 2020 edition. He posted on social media today that he spent his in an ICU. After two knee surgeries, blood clots formed his in legs and moved to his heart and lungs. Thankfully, he has good care available to him.
I don't want to take the focus off Mike here, but something that makes me very angry -- as someone who has had all sorts of medical issues tied directly or indirectly to my playing and active officiating careers -- is that the NHL and NHLOA have largely forsaken the officials of the past. The pension plan is an absolute joke. I will discuss that issue at another time.
Getting back to Mike, who retired from the NHL midway through the 2015-16 season, I told some of my favorite stories about him in my blog entitled "Cantaloupes and Antelopes"
Players always respected Mike Cvik. On skates, the Calgary native stood damn close to seven feet tall. On his bare feet, Mike stood 6-foot-9 and he weighed about 265 pounds. His physique became well-hewn after altering his approach to diet and exercise and dropping almost 40 pounds.
Cvik worked north of 1,900 games in the NHL. Once, while breaking up a fight, a player's skate accidentally cut his hand up severely. Three tendons were severed and one was cut. He only missed half a season, but could never again ball his hand into a fist.
Cvik was already going to retire after a Jan. 2016 game in his hometown between the Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning. But in the course of the game, he was injured (again by a skate) and fell to the ice. Fellow linesman Brian Murphy recommended that Cvik exit the game to get medical attention, Cvik wouldn't hear of it.
"Murph, is there a bone sticking out?" he asked.
"No," Murphy replied.
"Then I'm staying," said Cvik, who finished the game.
It's hard to keep a good man down. Mike Cvik is a good man, was a good lineman and a great teammate. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, brother.
A 2018 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee. On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games.
Visit Paul's official websites, YaWannaGo.com and Officiating by Stewart.