Former St. Mary’s player and St. Norbert assistant coach Rob Nicholson died suddenly on Nov. 27.
Nicholson was 59.
Nicholson was drafted in the tenth round of the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers and was the first player from Green Bay to be selected in the NHL Draft.
Known to his peers as “Nicky,” Nicholson began his coaching career with a club team at St. Norbert in 1980 and was later an assistant during the first six seasons of Tim Coghlin’s tenure as head coach at SNC.
Nicholson was the Green Bay Gamblers USHL team’s president for nine seasons and was also president of the Brown County Youth Hockey Association.
“He touched a lot of players in the city of Green Bay over a long period of time,” Coghlin said to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “He’s a larger than life character with a great personality and a great communicator. You don’t ever forget an encounter with Rob. You just don’t.”
“The hockey community lost a great ambassador to the game,” added USHL president and commissioner Bob Fallen in a statement. “Rob was instrumental in the transition of the Gamblers going from the historic Brown County Arena to the state-of-the-art Resch Center. He used his position to grow the game of hockey in the local community as well as nationally. The USHL and Green Bay Gamblers have grown to what they are today because of dedicated individuals like Rob.”
Nicholson is survived by his wife, Ruth, six children and eight grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday, 3-8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, at Proko-Wall Funeral Home in Green Bay. There will be an evening service Friday at 7:30 and a funeral service Saturday at noon.
All USHL games on Friday, Dec. 2, will feature a moment of silence in memory of Nicholson.