Ref hon­ours his fa­ther

Ref­eree wears late fa­ther’s old jersey to call junior game in Regina

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - GREG HARDER [email protected]­media.com

REGINA Luke Mc­geough was driv­ing home from Cal­gary when he got a call that would send him down a dark and un­fa­mil­iar road: His fa­ther, Mick — the colour­ful and beloved for­mer NHL ref­eree — had been hos­pi­tal­ized due to an ap­par­ent stroke.

The news put some things in per­spec­tive for the young ref­eree, who came up with an idea to hon­our his men­tor.

“I told my sis­ter, ‘I re­ally want to do a game in Regina and I want to wear one of dad’s jer­seys,’” Luke said. “But I said, ‘We’ll wait un­til he gets out of the hos­pi­tal so he can see it.’”

Un­for­tu­nately, Mick never did. The 62-year-old Regina na­tive died on Nov. 23.

Need­less to say, it has been a long cou­ple of weeks since Luke said good­bye to his fa­ther.

In the midst of the griev­ing process, Luke checked his officiating sched­ule and real­ized he had been as­signed to a Saskatchewan Mid­get AAA Hockey League game be­tween the Regina Pat Cana­di­ans and Moose Jaw Gen­er­als.

Mick once played for the Pat Cana­di­ans, wear­ing the cap­tain’s ‘C’ back in the early 1970s.

The stars couldn’t have aligned more per­fectly for Luke, who re­ceived per­mis­sion to wear one of his dad’s old NHL jer­seys for the game on Wed­nes­day.

“It kind of hit me when we were stand­ing there do­ing the na­tional an­them (be­fore the game) and when I first put on the jersey,” he said.

“I just hope he’d be proud of me,” Luke added. “My wife was like, ‘He’ll be proud of the way you reffed, ei­ther way.’ I said, ‘That wasn’t re­ally Mick’s thing.’ He was a ref, but he’d be way more proud of me be­ing a good dad — he just loved the grand­kids — and a good hus­band and a good per­son, in gen­eral.”

Luke will con­tinue to hon­our his dad ev­ery time he steps on the ice. The 35-year-old only be­gan ref­er­ee­ing last year and has al­ready worked his way up to as­sign­ments at the se­nior, mid­get AAA and junior B lev­els.

“I have twin girls (two-year-olds Oak­lin and Avery), so I had to pay for day­care some­how,” said Luke, who works full-time at a re­fin­ery.

“I started reff­ing and I fell in love with it.”

Mick was a charis­matic of­fi­cial and a men­tor to count­less young ref­er­ees. He was also well known as a fun-lov­ing sto­ry­teller.

“I was telling my sis­ter one day when we were in the hos­pi­tal, ‘All those times peo­ple said, ‘You’re one ap­ple that didn’t fall too far from the tree,’ I would al­ways be like, ‘You think that lit­tle of me?’” he said with a laugh. “But in­side, it was al­ways such a deadly com­pli­ment. Se­cretly I was giv­ing a fist pump.”

GREG HARDER

Luke Mc­geough wears the NHL jersey of his late fa­ther, for­mer ref­eree Mick Mc­geough, be­fore call­ing a game on Wed­nes­day in Regina.

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