Dick Dodds can appreciate the irony. During his playing days at Hanover High School and later St. Lawrence University, it seemed like he was playing for a different coach every year.
More than a generation of boys growing up in the Upper Valley will never know that feeling. Thanks in part to what he calls a “great connection to the community,” Dodds has been coaching winning hockey at Hanover for more than 30 years, something he couldn’t foresee when then-coach Jack Turco hired him in 1980 to be his assistant and coach the school’s JV team.
“That was probably the farthest thing from my mind at that point, trying to do that,” said Dodds. “It was just something I loved from Day 1.”
Dodds ranks second all-time in New Hampshire high school hockey in wins, compiling an overall record of 430-229-19. He’s guided the Marauders to five Division I Championships, including three during a four-year span last decade. Only Barney LaRoche (’03 Inductee) of Notre Dame (16) and Duncan Walsh (’11 Inductee) of Concord (6) have more.
“On the ice, the state championships obviously stand out, but they weren’t the most important things that happened,” said Dodds, citing the relationships with his former players he has to this day and the pride in what they’ve accomplished. “But the way they happened are things I’ll never forget.”
His first title, in 1993, came when Scotty Turco scored with three seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime against Concord. Mark Turco’s goal in double-overtime gave the Marauders the championship.
Jack Turco, whom he succeeded as the Hanover varsity coach in 1982-83 – and who later joined him on his staff – and current Dartmouth College coach Bob Gaudet are two men he counts as mentors and confidants.
Family has been a big part of his enjoyment at Hanover. His two older brothers also coach at the school. John Dodds coaches the girl’s hockey team and Tom Dodds coaches the ski team. In addition, Dodds has had the pleasure of coaching sons Trevor, Patrick and Alex, as well as nephew Cody.
“I’ve just been blessed with having a family like I do and being in his area, where I have people like Jack and Bob as resources,” said Dodds.
Former players talk about the work ethic and emphasis on preparation he instilled, his attention to detail in practice an indication of how much he loved and respected the game.
“The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital,” said Terry Boyle, who played for Hanover in the late 1980s. “It’s a great lesson, and one that I learned playing for Coach Dodds.”
A Hanover native, Dodds will begin his 31st season as Hanover’s head coach this fall, first moving to the community in 1964 at a young age. Now, nearly 50 years later, it’s proven to be a great fit, both for him and the legions of players he’s coached.