Former USHL Board Chairman and Green Bay Gamblers President Rob Nicholson passed away Sunday the Green Bay Press-Gazette first reported.
“The hockey community lost a great ambassador to the game,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bob Fallen. “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 was instrumental in the team’s transition to the current ownership group PMI Entertainment Group and led the effort for Green Bay to host the 2003 USHL All-Star game that featured guest speaker Herb Brooks. The game also featured future NHL players Ryan Carter (Green Bay Gamblers), Matt Carle (River City Lancers), Drew Miller (River City Lancers), Joe Pavelski (Waterloo Black Hawks) and David Backes (Lincoln Stars).
Nicholson was a native of Green Bay, WI and played for the Green Bay Bobcats from 1977-79. He was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1977 NHL Draft, and according to the team was the first player selected in the NHL Draft from Green Bay. Nicholson served as Green Bay Gamblers president for nine season. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, six children and eight grandchildren.
All USHL games on Friday, Dec. 2 will feature a moment of silence in memory of Nicholson.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.