Dicaire hopes to add new dimension to ICE blueline

By Jeff Bromley

Dicaire hopes to add new dimension to ICE blueline

Surprisingly enough, it’s becoming almost a symbiotic relationship in that you might be expecting Pearl Jam to record their next album here or StarBucks to open their next coffee outlet in the Key City. Almost as astonishing as the fact that StarBucks doesn’t have an outlet here – yet, is the steady stream of impact hockey players coming via the trade route of the Seattle Thunderbirds. Seattle, and in particular its hockey team, has been very good to the Kootenay ICE when looking to play the WHL’s version of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’. Following in the footsteps of Zdenek Blatny, Bret DeCecco, Brennan Evans and Igor Agarunov, offensive defensemen Girard Dicaire arrived in Cranbrook to join the Kootenay ICE after being obtained for Trevor Johnson at the trade deadline last Monday.

It is a move that the pride of Taylor, B.C., a small hamlet just south of Fort St. John, welcomes, looks forward to and even asked for. “We had talked about it,” said Dicaire before practice last Thursday about being traded out of Seattle. “Kind of, if there was something there, then to do it. And there happen to be (a trade possibility).”

Picked 48th overall in the 2000 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabers, Dicaire is eager show the high form that so many held him in the past two seasons. Never left wanting on the offensive side of the score-sheet, Dicaire thinks the change in scenery will do him a world of good. “Hopefully it does,” said Dicaire of the trade helping his pro hockey fortunes. “Hopefully I can find some consistency playing here, playing with a team that’s going to make a run at the playoffs.”

“I’m really excited to see how far we can go because I haven’t been that far in the playoffs. I’ve only been into the second round and we were knocked out both years I was in Seattle. I’m looking forward to it.”

Dicaire also has another adjustment to make besides the one on the ice and with his new teammates, he also has to learn all over again that living in small-town Cranbrook, British Columbia rather than two million-plus Seattle means that the lanky defenseman will have a little more trouble blending in. Playing in the fish bowl that is Cranbrook as opposed to the big ocean of spectator sports in Seattle is something that Dicaire is very much looking forward to. “I think it’ll be good,” offered Dicaire. “I’ve always wanted to play in Canada (Dicaire was first listed by Spokane as a sixteen-yr-old while playing for the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL and then traded to the T-Birds) since I started playing in Seattle.”

“It’s a hockey town here in Cranbrook and I’m from a small town so I’m used to seeing everybody and everybody knowing who you are. I’m looking forward to it.”

Dicaire is also looking forward to settling down to the task at hand, which is to help turn around the inconsistent ways of a suddenly defensively deficient Kootenay ICE hockey club. Racking up the points from the blueline or anchoring the power-play is nothing new for Dicaire, but he’s also bent on improving his defensive zone play and knocking the so-called knack off his back. “I guess you could call me an offensive defensemen, I like to jump up in the play, try to make things happen and be a fourth forward,” added Dicaire of his forward-thinking type of play.

“But also, the knock on me is not being good in my d-zone so I’ve been working on that this year, trying to play better d-zone coverage. Battling harder, so hopefully I can do that here, just win the little battles and improve my defensive game.” If Dicaire is anything like his predecessors, one hopes that the trend of the ICE mining diamonds out of the Emerald City continues to be plentiful.