Craig Didmon’s peewee A Thunderbirds pile in for a team photo with their bronze medals won from the Thanksgiving Day Cup in Vancouver. Front row

Craig Didmon a true blue hockey man

A lot of fans will tell you that they live, breathe and sleep hockey. Few, though, can likely compete with Sooke resident Craig Didmon

A lot of hockey fans will tell you that they live, breathe and sleep hockey. Few, though, can likely compete with Sooke resident Craig Didmon who coaches three different levels of the sport.

Joining the wildly popular WHL Victoria Royals as assistant coach this year, Didmon has also run the Westshore Hockey Academy for the last seven seasons and looks after head coaching duties for the Sooke Minor Hockey peewee A minor team that his 12-year-old son Ty plays on.

“It’s quite the contrast going from the Royals to the peewee T-birds,” said Didmon. “Some of it’s the same stuff — getting to the same spots, getting to the same positioning. With the Royals there are higher expectations and the message is a little sterner.”

Coming from a hockey family, he said it was a natural transition to get into coaching. Although he had some success as a player — recording 50 goals and 106 points in his last year as a centreman in the BC Hockey League in 1992 — his real love was coaching which he had actually starting doing as a teenager.

“My father was a coach for 30 years and a western league scout,” said Didmon. “He was coaching bantam teams and midget teams through the years, so I’d come out and help him coach.”

Entering his 18th season calling himself a coach, it all started  almost 40 years ago when he moved to the Western Communities from Burnaby in 1972 shortly after birth.

“I remember being under 10 years old and being the stick boy for the Juan de Fuca bantam team,” he said. “When I was an atom we used to come out and practice in Sooke once a week, the rink was almost new then.”

As an adult, he began his career first as a teacher. He was a counsellor at Sooke Elementary, and at Spencer where he also taught English. Then, Westshore started their hockey academy that started off with 48 kids the first year and is now one of the largest in Canada with more than 140 enrolled, said Didmon.

Rounding out his resume, he has also coached the south Island major midget team, the Victoria Grizzlies, and the Victoria Cougars — who he helped bring home a provincial championship in 2007. That all prepared him for the Royals who were looking for someone to fill the position in August. Didmon introduced himself to the general manager and head coach Marc Habscheid, and said his resume stood for itself. After a couple of interviews, he was in.

“The first thing I did was take Marc fishing out in Sooke,” he said, chuckling.

Didmon has high hopes for the future of hockey in Sooke. He admitted that for the time being, it is still a rural town with a small pool of kids to draw from.

“It makes it tough to play some of the bigger organizations like the Juan de Fucas, the Nanaimos of the world and stuff but we also have a lot of good, young coaches.”

For now, he is doing his part by helping shape young local talent on the ice.

“I feel very fortunate. It’s fun, it doesn’t really feel like work.”

 

Just Posted

CRD holding off repairing Sooke Potholes viewing area after winter landslide

Area likely to experience continued failure of slope, officials say

City of Victoria to hold formal safety review after man was left hanging from raised bridge

More and more people seen ignoring safety measurements in place, city staff say

Work to begin on John Phillips Memorial Park loo

Sooke council gives final approval

West Shore RCMP arrest man in stolen vehicle, seize handgun

Vehicle was reported stolen from Duncan on July 18

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

POLL: Do you use a food delivery app?

With modern life becoming more hectic with each passing day and so… Continue reading

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Most Read