When Jody Sick decided to return home it was a gift the RDC Kings never expected.
Sick left Topeka RoadRunners of the North American Hockey League with the idea of returning home and going to school. During his trip home he received a text message from Kings assistant coach Jeff Denham asking if he’d be interested in trying out for the Kings. He jumped at the idea.
He arrived at RDC early last week, registered in Open Studies as he looks to get into Commerce, and attended one Kings practice prior to playing last Thursday in a 2-1 loss to the Camrose Augustana Vikings. He saw limited ice time, but didn’t look out of place. He also dressed for the Kings 2-1 shootout loss to the Innisfail Eagles on Saturday at SAIT.
“It was good to get a couple of games under my belt. I hadn’t done anything for a couple of weeks and was a little rusty. But I got better as the (first) game went on and I was better on Saturday.”
As for the calibre of play, he liked what he saw.
“It was good. The guys are bigger and stronger and it’s better than junior A hockey,” he said.
The 20-year-old native of Red Deer played the last two seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks of the AJHL and still had a year of eligibility remaining. However, he asked for a trade at the end of last season as he felt he needed more exposure to get a U.S. scholarship as a 20-year-old.
“I talked with a former teammate (Tanner Lomsnes) who played in the North American League and got a scholarship. I felt it would be a good opportunity for me, but once I was there I decided to move on and go to school. I must admit I was also a little homesick and wanted to go to school closer to home.”
Kings head coach Trevor Keeper couldn’t have happier with Sick’s decision.
“It’s nice to have him here. We were looking for a right winger, plus we had an injury on that side. He has a man’s body at six-foot-four and 210-pounds so will fit in nicely. I also talked with Boris (Kodiaks GM/head coach Rybalka) to get some feedback on him and Boris spoke highly of him.”
Sick had a solid season last year with the Kodiaks, finishing with 18 goals and 21 assists in 57 games.
Sick came up through the Red Deer Minor Hockey Association playing with the Red Deer Rebels White bantam AAA team in 2009-10 and the IROC Chiefs in 2010-11. He had a spleen injury prior to his first season of midget AAA and didn’t make the Optimist Chiefs. He joined the Leduc Oil Kings, who hosted the Telus Cup championship that season. The Chiefs won the national title as they did the following season and this time Sick was on the roster.
“That was a tremendous experience,” he said. “It was a special feeling.”
Sick had been listed by the Prince Alberta Raiders of the WHL when he was 15 and attended their camp, but decided he wanted to go the scholarship route.
He had a cup of coffee with the Okotoks Oilers in 2011-12 and 2012-13 and with the Drayton Valley Thunder in 2012-13. He joined the Kodiaks for the 2013-14 season.
Sick will play on the right side with the Kings and possibly on the third or fourth line, which is fine with him.
“I usually play the wing and really I’m not worried where I play as long as I’m playing. I just need to work hard and focus on my grades.”
Sick felt comfortable joining the Kings as he played minor hockey with defenceman Kirk Johnson and skated with several members of the Kings during the off season.
He will also be around for a few years.
“I’ll see how things go, but I will be here for a while. I could transfer down the road … we’ll see.”
Sick will likely be in action tonight as the Kings open their ACAC regular season as they host the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder at 7 p.m. at the Penhold Regional multiplex.