By Pam Shebest
Special To The Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO — Jim Burlew had a smokey introduction to Wings Stadium back in the mid-1980s while he was refereeing IHL hockey games.
Burlew wore the zebra stripes for more than a decade.
“Some of my first professional games were at Wings Stadium, and I was in awe of that place,” he said.
“The first game I ever did at Wings, I got there way early and John Flesch (K-Wings player from 1984-86) came in the referee’s room to smoke so the coach wouldn’t catch him. He said he was trying to hide from the coach to get a cigarette in before the game.”