Congratulations on a job well done!
This week, two Brockport hockey players -- Ryan Romeo and Casey Winn -- will be completing their undergraduate studies.
But, they'll be back to work on their masters degrees...and play hockey.
With the 2020-2021 season having been canceled because of Covid, they both have a year of eligibility left.
Congrats, men, on your bachelor degrees!
Graduation is always a bittersweet time.
Excitement is in the air, as the graduates have a whole lifetime ahead of them in family, career, and service.
At that same time, there's some sadness, as the seniors look back at the end of their academic careers and, for most of them, the end of their hockey careers.
For this year's graduates, their hockey careers ended prematurely. There wasn't a 2020-2021 season because of Covid protocols. It's unfortunate.
So, we say our "good bye" and wish "good luck" to the four young men who will be leaving Brockport this week, a foursome of student-athletes who played the game the right way and pursued their studies with the same vigor.
We wish them the very best in what the future holds for them and we thank them for the magic and memories they provided as Golden Eagles. There was plenty of that as they were a super-successful crew on the ice. They helped produce two 15-win campaigns which were bested only by 17-win seasons in 1968-1969 and 1987-1988.
The men moving on are...
Ethan and Jeremy Solat: Jeremy joined his brother in the 2018-2019 season and they were a great sibling combo to watch. Ethan amassed 17 goals and 19 assists in his 3 seasons and Jeremy lit the lamp 13 times and assisted on 12 others in his 2 seasons. The Colorado natives were always hustling on the ice and possessed of great energy.
Shane Visnick: He accumulated 5 goals 7 assists in his 3 seasons and was know for being a fantastic defensive forward. The Florida native was a tireless physical force to reckon with, at 6'1" and 220 pounds.
Tyler Williams: Hailing from Rome, NY, he had some quiet numbers (1 goal, 2 assists) which belie his value to the team...he was a defenseman's defenseman who helped keep the SUNYAC's talented forwards at bay. His NCAA success was a testament to his hard work as he had to recover from an injury sustained in the juniors.
Sal Balbi played for Brockport in the late-1990s. In 51 games he tallied 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points while playing clean, disciplined hockey, racking up just 14 penalty minutes.
You may have seen on ABC world news last week the story about Jim Kasta whose wedding took place in an ICU in Rochester. He played for Brockport in the early 1990s.
Said the newlywed Mrs. Kasta: “I guess my wish is for everyone to realize that even in the midst of a pandemic that love is always there and if you look you’ll find it.”
Watch the video and read the story here:
Longtime fans of the program will fondly remember James Cody and Chase Nieuwendyk. You knew you were watching greatness on the ice. Those men have been named to the SUNYAC's All-Decade team of the 2010s. Congratulations!!
One of Brockport's newest additions is Chris Aarons. In the EHL scouting reports created by Neutral Zone, they have him ranked as 9th best among the 2000 year class. They say "Crafty in tight areas and the puck finds him. End of game type player w/leadership qualities." Here's an interview Neutral Zone did with the young man back in 2019:
The Press-Republican looks back at the top Plattsburgh-area sports stories of 2020. Making the list is the Cardinals 2OT win over the Golden Eagles in the playoffs. We would have loved a Brockport win but it was an incredible game, one of the best ever -- the 9th longest in NCAA history. It was also the last DIII hockey we'll see until October of 2021 -- or later.
Give a listen to the EShow podcast which covers EHL hockey. The newest episode features a great, 35-minute free-flowing interview with Brockport coach Brian Dickinson who speaks on a wide variety of topics like his love for the EHL, his NCAA coaching journey, how COVID has impacted the game and student-athletes, and his fight with cancer and how the community and hockey world have been there for him.
Tyler West of the Stylus wrote this excellent article about Coach's cancer diagnosis and what Brian means to Golden Eagle Hockey, the players, the students, and the entire Brockport community:
By Tyler West / News Editor
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.
Our beloved Coach, Brian Dickinson, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Alumnus Matt DeLuca has started a GoFundMe to help Brian through this fight. Please give. Brian is one of the really good guys. Through his long coaching career he has positively impacted thousands of lives on and off campus. Now, let's return the favor.
Here's something that appeared in the "Good News" section of President Heidi Macpherson's October message to her colleagues on campus: