Story and photos by Jeff Gard/jgsportsmedia.com
Dennis Sicard enjoys helping young hockey players develop their skills.
Sicard knows there’s always room for improvement and he still appreciates coaches and mentors that took the time to help him become a better player.
After all, he didn’t start playing hockey until he was 13-years-old and really relied on that guidance.
“As a kid, I had people to help me,” Sicard said Saturday at the Cobourg Community Centre following an on-ice session with a small group of players. “If I didn’t have those types of people in my life, I wouldn’t have made it to where I’ve gotten to.”
Some longtime junior A hockey fans may be familiar with his name as he played for the former Port Hope Predators (2004-05, part of 2005-06) and Bancroft Hawks (2003-04, part of 2005-06) back in the day before playing university hockey at SUNY-Buffalo State and then professionally in the United States in leagues such as the Central Hockey League, Southern Professional Hockey League, International Hockey League and Federal Hockey League.
Growing up in Lindsay, Sicard would go to the arena to watch a friend play hockey. That friend’s grandfather, the late Wallace Scott, asked if Sicard would like to play hockey. He was interested, but it wasn’t an option financially for his family.
Scott signed him up and purchased all of his equipment, with Sicard recalling him saying “just work hard because that’s all we expect from you. Just work hard and have fun.’”
Sicard also fondly remembers one of his pro coaches, Jean-Guy Trudel, who “put so much time in with me. I was a fighter, a grinder and he put a lot of time in with me on the skill side of it and the hockey mindset. The time he gave me, I want to give back to the kids.”
Now based in Cobourg, that’s exactly what Sicard is doing through his business War Horse Hockey and his gym Ignite Fitness. He has been running skills development and power skating instruction sessions for Northumberland Minor Hockey, but can also accommodate private sessions (he can be reached at email@example.com).
“It’s a little different with COVID, but you have to take the right precautions. It’s good to see the kids out there because it brings a little bit of joy to their lives,” Sicard said, noting it’s a new challenge with the players not having games between sessions.
“Here all they have to look forward to is development, which at times is boring, but I always tell them…it’s not boring getting better because gradually later down the road you’re going to appreciate what you did,” he remarked.
“It’s important to put the time in with them. You can tell they appreciate it. I know they just want to have fun, but at the end of the day when they come up to you and thank you for making them better, even just a little bit, it brings joy to my life.
“It’s really awesome when you have a group of kids that just want to work.”