Stamps head coach Dickenson recalls Mylan Hicks fondly
The Calgary Stampeders had wanted to be in court to support Mylan Hicks’ parents on Wednesday, but an incorrect listing on the court schedule made that impossible.
Hicks and his family were on their minds at practice, though, as the man who murdered the former Stampeders player was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for 18 years.
“Listen, the worst part is we want to be there for Renee and Reggie (Hill, Hicks’ parents) and we had a plan for some players and (Stampeders president/GM John Hufnagel) to be down there supporting the family,” said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson. “We just want to make sure we’re there for them. More than anything, he’s still a part of us. You heard it after the Grey Cup.”
Hicks, who was 23 years old at the time, was shot and killed by Nelson Lugela in 2016 outside the Marquee nightclub, where several of the Stampeders had been celebrating a win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
The 21-year-old Lugela was found guilty of second-degree murder earlier this year and his sentence was handed out Wednesday.
In the time since the terrible night almost three years ago, the Stampeders have continued to try to support Hicks’ family, both through Ken Thrower, the team’s senior director of corporate security, and Rodd Sawatzky, the team’s chaplain.
That’s something Dickenson believes will continue, even as many of Hicks’ teammates move on from the organization.
“I hope they know they’re always welcome,” Dickenson said. “Sometimes when life marches on you lose track of what’s going on (and) who knows exactly who’s talking to whom. I know our players, like (Brandon Smith, Jamar Wall, Kamar Jorden and Derek Dennis), Mylan’s in our thoughts.
“We understand what happened but we know both Reggie and Renee need our support and I hope they feel confident if they need anything or have any questions they can approach our organization.”
Hicks’ impact on the Stampeders continues to be felt to this day. Shortly after the team won the Grey Cup last November in Edmonton, d-lineman Micah Johnson was quick to pay tribute to Hicks.
While the Stamps team that takes the field this season will have a lot of faces who weren’t around on the 2016 squad when Hicks was around, Dickenson described Hicks as part of the Stampeders family.
“It seems like a while ago, it wasn’t,” Dickenson said. “We only had him for three months, I can just tell you he was a great person and I wish I got to know him better.
“That’s the thing about it, you don’t think things like this are going to happen, especially in Canada and Calgary. He came from Detroit, we have stereotypes about that city and yet tragedy happened here. More than anything, I can tell (Hicks came from) a great family, too. Mylan was one of the best. Very thoughtful, great teammate, worked hard and happy he was a part of our club, even for a short time.”