In 1970, Bob Saliba began his organized hockey career with the Deerfield Falcons at Trinity College’s outdoor rink. Bob was part of the volunteer group responsible for installing the cover to the rink lending itself to the nickname, the “Bubble”. The “Bubble” was a large factor in the expansion of hockey in the northern Chicago suburbs. In 1972, The Highland Park Leafs were formed and played out of Centennial Ice area. Bob played for the Leafs and assisted Wally Kormylo, Director of Hockey, in managing the clock, scoring games and helping children learn to skate.
As a sophomore in high school, Bob and a few teammates successfully petitioned the athletic director of Highland Park High School to form a hockey club. Bob played for Highland Park High School’s newly formed team for two seasons beginning in 1975 and ending in 1977. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1981, Bob reorganized the disbanded Highland Park Hockey Club for the 1983-84 season. The team was admitted to the Metro Central Hockey League. Bob served as head coach, club president and Metro representative. Following a few successfully seasons, the team increased the number of players and were able to form a junior varsity team. This accomplishment allowed Highland Park to participate in the Metro North Division. In 1988, after Bob transitioned the management of the high school hockey club to a parent board, he continued to serve as secretary of Metro North.
In 1990, Bob became involved with the Falcons Hockey Association where he coached, served as Vice President of House League and was elected President for five years. The Falcons became the largest Illinois youth hockey club at that time, growing to over 750 members. Under Bob’s direction and leadership, the first Falcons girls’ hockey team was formed and the Falcons played a large role in the restructuring of Tier II youth hockey. During his tenure on the Falcons’ board, Bob also served on the Park District of Highland Park’s ice rink advisory committee where he focused on rink improvements and expansion.
In 1997, Bob began serving his 15 years on the AHAI board. He chaired the Tier II committee, the Blackhawk Cup committee, and the Appeals committee. He was instrumental in implementing the “Two Choice Rule”, installing the Blackhawk Cup “B” Division, and was a founding member of the Central States Developmental Hockey League.
In 2000, Bob served on the Loyola Academy Hockey board until 2009. He was manager of the Varsity “Gold” team for six straight years while serving as Vice President before becoming President. Again, like at the Falcons, Bob was instrumental in forming the first girl’s hockey team at Loyola Academy.
Bob enjoys giving back to the hockey community. He developed lifelong friendships at every level of involvement. Bob and his wife, Patti, have three sons, Mike, Pat and Brian. Each of them have developed their own passion for the game by participating in House League, Tier I, Tier II, Loyola Academy, and Club Hockey at the University of Illinois. All three boys have also assisted head coach, DJ LaVarre at Loyola Academy.
Bob now spends his free time with his 3 year old grandson, Luca, watching the Blackhawks, playing hockey guys, and refereeing shinny hockey. His two other grandchildren Michaela (17 months) and Lorenzo (8 months) gear up to participate.