Hanover High boys hockey coach recuperating from heart attack

  • Hanover Hockey Head Coach Dick Dodds speaks with his players during a final time out with nine seconds of overtime to go during the Bishop Guertin at Hanover boys Hockey at Campion Rink in West Lebanon, NH on February 18, 2013. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file — Sarah Priestap

  • Hanover coach Dick Dodds talks to his team between periods in a game against Manchester Memorial in West Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 18, 2014. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

  • Dick Dodds, is manager of Campion Rink which is preparing its ice surface for a September opening. Monday, September 12, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. valley news file — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/16/2021 9:27:37 PM
Modified: 11/16/2021 9:27:33 PM

HANOVER — Longtime Hanover High boys hockey coach Dick Dodds is recovering from a heart attack suffered nearly two weeks ago.

Dick’s son, Alex, said he’s doing OK and is moving in the right direction.

The incident occurred Nov. 4 at James W. Campion III Rink in West Lebanon, where Dodds, 62, works as the manager. He was teaching a class for adults when he started to feel ill and left the ice to go into his office alone. He called his doctor, who recommended he go to the hospital.

While Dodds was gathering his belongings to drive himself there, things got worse, and he fell.

Local trainer Wayne Burwell was at the rink and checked on Dodds after the fall. Dodds was on the floor with the phone next to him, talking to the 911 operator.

Dodds went to the Cardiac Catheterization Labratory at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, where doctors found blockage in a major artery. They placed a stent through his wrist.

He’s recently started cardiac rehabilitation at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. That entails performing some exercises while monitoring his heart rate.

Dick’s wife, Melissa, said his progress in rehab will determine his timeline going forward.

“I think the cardiac rehab will sort of be the people who dictate what he can do, when he can do it, how much he can do in terms of activity — and daily life, really,” Melissa said. “So I think we’ll know more in the next week to two weeks. I have high hopes, and he’s motivated. He wants to get back.”

Melissa Dodds added that the family is doing well. She said some hockey parents started a meal train for the Dodds family, which was greatly appreciated.

“We’re just so fortunate,” she said. “We have so many good people around us that have stepped up at work and offered to help us how they can here. We’re pretty blessed.”

Alex Dodds has picked up some of his father’s shifts at the rink since the heart attack, so Dick doesn’t have to think about work while he recuperates. Melissa Dodds said his co-workers have been supportive and understanding.

While sports are a lower priority after a major health scare, Dodds is already thinking about hockey. He’s entering his 40th season coaching Hanover. He’s coached Hanover teams to six NHIAA state titles, won more than 530 of the over 900 games in which he’s coached, received the American Hockey Coaches Association’s John Mariucci Award for secondary school excellence in January and joined the NHIAA Hall of Fame over the weekend.

Dodds’ son and wife are both optimistic he’ll be able to coach hockey this winter in some way. They both said he may not be able to go on the ice with his players, but he could coach from the bench while assistant coaches work with the kids on the ice.

“If you ask him, he’s gonna be out skating like tomorrow,” Alex Dodds said. “There’s no one, in his mind, that’s going to stop him from being a part of the hockey season. I think it’s pretty safe to say kind of regardless of what goes down, he’s going to be involved. It’s just kind of a matter of what capacity.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.

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