Wicklum to work 900th career ECHL game on Saturday

The ECHL announced on Friday that linesman Terry Wicklum will work his 900th career ECHL game on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina as the Swamp Rabbits host the Jacksonville Icemen.

In his 22nd season as an ECHL official, Wicklum worked his first game in the league in Biloxi, Mississippi on October 18, 1996 along with his brother, Mick, and Steve Barton. He was selected to work the 1999 ECHL All-Star Game in Mississippi and has worked two Kelly Cup Finals during his career.

Wicklum becomes just the third linesman, and fourth official, in the ECHL’s 30-year history to officiate at least 900 games, joining Norm Eberle and Brad Phillips and referee Joe Ernst.

“It is quite the accomplishment to work 900 games in the ECHL as only three other officials have reached this milestone,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “Terry is one of the best teammates on the officiating staff as it’s never been about him, but about the game, which says a lot about him as a person. I had the privilege to work with Terry in many games over the years including an ECHL All-Star Game. He is the same guy now that he was when he first started as he always comes to the rink ready to work and enjoys being part of the game. We at the ECHL congratulate Terry on reaching 900 games and thank him for the many sacrifices that he has made to be part of the ECHL.”

“To be honest, I was pretty surprised when Joe (Ernst) called me and told me that this would be 900; I had stopped counting 15 years ago,” Wicklum said. “I’m a little embarrassed by all the fuss, after all, a good night at work for us is to slip out the back door after the game and not have anyone remember who worked. It did make me stop and think how fortunate I have been. All the years, all the places, all the hockey. But what I kept coming back to was the people. Like anything in life that is worthwhile doing, you can’t do it alone.

“I’ll never forget the people,” he continued. “I’ve got a lot of friends that are now the top officials in the NHL. They spent years in the ECHL learning and their craft. All the talented guys that worked hard in this league, but didn’t get to hear their number called for one reason or another. But I place just as much value on the relationships that I’ve made with people that never got the opportunity that I did. From starting at the minor hockey level in Perth and Smiths Falls Ontario, moving on to Junior in Ottawa, and then getting a shot at professional hockey from a hockey legend.

“None of it would have been possible without the people I met along the way. My family that understands that I am busy on Friday and Saturday nights for six months a year. The guys at the Cobbler Shop that made sure my gear got fixed quickly, the neighbors that picked up a skinny kid with a big bag hitchhiking to the rink. Paul Vaillancort, Dave Patterson, and Steve Sleigh who just kept giving me games. Jason Mercer, Jason McCausland, Kirk Wood, Scott Loney, Matt Stevenson, John Moulton, and all the guys and gals  in Ottawa. Everyone that worked in the Ottawa Valley in the early 90s, Paul Boese, Wes Desarmia, Adam Brown, Dave Schilling, Charlie Harrison, Ian Devonshire, Steve Bridson, Mark Tugnutt, Mike Coldrey, the Telfords, Neil Kodrenko, the Bingleys, Billy Black and Kenny Johnson, too many more to name them all. Michael Frank, the off-ice crews, trainers, coaches, players, my teammates, and the fans of the ECHL. These are the people that are in every hockey community.  These are the people that make it tick. These are the people that make hockey special.

“It’s impossible to mention everyone, but even after the memories of the games fade, the people stay strong. I remember each and every one of you, thank you.”

There are 31 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2017-18 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Ryan Daisy, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Bevin Mills, Kory Nagy, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.

About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been  who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 17 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.