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‘Dedicated, consistent, genuine’: SUNY Brockport men’s hockey coach diagnosed with cancer, community and team rally in support


More than just a coach — that’s one thing the men who have played for him all say he is.

“He cares about his players and treats us as if we were his own. As a person he’s taught me that there’s more to life than hockey,” SUNY Brockport junior Mitch Parsons said.

Brian Dickinson, Head Coach of the SUNY Brockport men’s hockey team, was recently diagnosed with cancer. A man who has offered support, hard work, and dedication to the Brockport community for over 20 years, is now getting that in return.

Dickinson has been the head coach since 1996 and has tallied over 200 career wins. He has coached 24 all-conference players, with nine First-Team selections, two players of the year and one rookie of the year. He was even named the SUNYAC Coach of the Year — twice.

But when you ask his team about him, they say that he is so much more than just a coach.

“One thing Coach has taught me is that life is bigger than just hockey. The morals and values he lives by, and the things that he constantly preaches backs this up,” SUNY Brockport senior Casey Winn said. “He always tells us to have each other’s backs, whether it’s on or off the ice. Stand up and look out for one another. He always wants us involved in the community. He just wants us to be good people and treat others with respect. It shows the type of person Coach is.”

Winn has played for the team for three years now, and he says he can’t imagine what the hockey team would look like without Dickinson. And he’s not the only one.

Dickinson’s team describes him as the backbone, the face of the team, and note his constant dedication to not only the team, but the community.

“The amount of time and effort he has put forth for this team is unbelievable with recruiting, planning schedules, and making practice plans,” SUNY Brockport junior Corey Tam said. “One thing that Coach has taught me is the value of hard work. He demonstrates hard work with whatever he does whether it’s at practice, working at the SERC or in the mail-room, or volunteering on campus for an event. He is always willing to put in the work.”

There’s no doubt that Coach Dickinson genuinely cares about his team’s well-being. Each Thanksgiving, he opens his house to his team for dinner if they can’t be home with their families. This is something many of his players — former and current — say they will always remember.

“He genuinely cares about his players. To be honest, I’ve been around the hockey world a long time and the best coaches care about the well-bring of their players, both on and off the ice,” SUNY Brockport alum Matthew DeLuca said. “Without a doubt, he cared about us. Each year he even opened up his own house for Thanksgiving dinner to all of the players, especially like myself, who lived too far away to travel home and back before our annual Thanksgiving tournament.”

DeLuca describes Dickinson as dedicated, consistent, and genuine.

“Coach Dickinson believed in me enough to put me in a position to become the captain of our team. In doing so, he provided me with some of the best and most proud moments of my life — moments that I often think about and will never forget. In return, this is the least I could do,” DeLuca said about creating a GoFundMe page for Dickinson.

The page has garnered thousands of dollars in donations to go towards Dickinson’s ongoing medical expenses. Donations have come from his players, community members, co-workers, alumni, and even from players on opposing teams.

“I’m not sure if everyone realizes this or not, but that list of donors has the names of several players and coaches that we used to compete against in the SUNYAC. I believe that when former opposing players and coaches donate to this cause, that speaks volumes about not only the hockey community itself, but also the respect they have for Coach Dickinson,” DeLuca said.

Over 240 people have donated in just four days.

Along with coaching hockey, Dickinson oversees daily operations of the Tuttle North Ice Arena and supervises a staff of about 25 student workers. He lives in Brockport with his wife Melisa and his five children, and is an active participant in the community.

If you would like to donate to help Dickinson and his family with medical costs, you can donate here.

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