NEW GLASGOW – Wayne Dickson is being remembered as an accomplished Pictou County athlete and educator with high personal qualities by those who knew him in both callings.
Dickson died on his 73rd birthday after a lengthy illness Wednesday in Gold River, N.S. where he has been living in recent years after retirement from 28 years in the school system.
“He was a heck of a nice guy and a good, hard, honest hockey player,” recalled Lowell MacDonald, a former star at East Pictou Rural High School when Dickson played their rivals at New Glasgow High School.
MacDonald began playing high school hockey in Grade 8 and played against Dickson for several years before his graduation and further studies at Acadia University.
“They had good players and Wayne was one of the better ones,” MacDonald said. “He was a good skater, a good hard-nosed hockey player who didn’t shy away from the corners.”
Wayne Bradford Ellis Dickson was born Sept. 19, 1939 to the late Foster and Kristine Dickson and raised in New Glasgow. Foster Dickson was also an accomplished hockey player and coach.
He was a star athlete at NGHS in track and field, hockey and rugby and was a member of several Nova Scotia championship high school sports teams. He was recruited by Acadia and excelled in both hockey and track and field.
“I’m an admirer of his and saddened by his passing,” said Clyde Fraser, a retired educator. “He was someone I looked up to and one of Nova Scotia’s outstanding athletes.”
He was captain of Acadia’s hockey team; specialized in 100 and 220 yard events and at one meet was clocked in at 22.8 in the 220, believed to have equalled the Canadian juvenile record of the day. He was a member of the Olympic training plan as a sprinter and competed against the Canadian Olympic Team. A highlight was being anchor in the 4×100 relay team that competed against and defeated the Canadian Olympic squad as part of the Maritime Intercollegiate Track champions.
More recently, he was inducted into the Pictou County Sports Hall of Fame.
He earned economics and education degrees at Acadia and a physical education degree from the University of Waterloo in 1966, as well as a Masters in education in 1985.
He also went to Memphis, Tennessee where he achieved certification as an inspector of hardwood lumber from the U.S. National Hardwood Lumber Association in 1996.
He was also an Army Cadet Lieutenant in the Canadian Army Reserve, stationed in Camp Borden, Eldershot and Gagetown.
He taught at Cornwallis District High School and East Pictou Rural High School and was a teacher at Stellarton High School for 28 years, teaching physical education and economics. He retired in 1994.
“I remember Wayne first as my phys-ed teacher and later as a colleague at Stellarton High School,” said Peter White, currently the principal at North Nova Education Centre. “As a kid on his hockey or cross-country team, I remember him being sincere and respectful to his players, to opponents and to officials, somebody who never did anything to put anyone down and who had a very good perspective about the importance of sports in life.
“When I worked with him as a colleague, I was even more impressed by his sincerity and dedication to helping the students with whom he worked. He was a good athlete, a caring teacher, and a fine man.”
Dickson coached many teams – including those in hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball – and was known for his innovative and progressive coaching.
Affectionally known by his students as Mr. D, he also coached the Stellarton Spitfires of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.