Sam Sisco, a longtime referee who worked 10 Turner Cup Finals in the original International Hockey League in which the Komets played, died at 85. Also, Henry Brabham, a co-founder of the Komets’ current league, the ECHL, died at 90.
Sisco was an IHL referee from 1965 to 1982, after which he was in a supervisory role for the NHL, American Hockey League and IHL.
“Sam was a the consummate professional,” said David Branch, commissioner of the junior-level Ontario Hockey League, for which Sisco was an officiating supervisor from 1989 to 2008. “He treated everyone with respect and was highly regarded by all of the coaches, managers and owners in the Ontario Hockey League. He was a true gentleman who set a high standard for everyone to follow and he’ll be greatly missed.”
Brabham, for whom the ECHL’s regular-season trophy is named, owned three of the league’s five teams in the inaugural season of 1988-89, including the Johnstown Chiefs.
“There is no question in my mind that without Henry Brabham, there is no ECHL,” league commissioner Ryan Crelin said. “It is a tremendously sad day for the League as we lose one of our founding members, but this is also an opportunity to be thankful for his commitment to the sport of hockey and his willingness to create the foundation for what the ECHL has become.”