New Canaan boys hockey coach Bo Hickey retires

PHi_j0033_2After 20 years at the helm of the New Canaan boys hockey program, Bo Hickey is finally calling it a career.

The longtime coach shared his decision to retire with Rams players Monday night at Terry Conners Ice Rink in Stamford, his hometown. Hickey led New Canaan to an FCIAC tournament championship last March in a 5-2 upset of rival Darien. The team later lost in the quarterfinals of the state bracket to Notre Dame-West Haven, though the program has long been a staple in both postseason tournaments.

During the Hickey era, the Rams claimed 10 FCIAC titles in 15 conference final appearances. The program has also reached the state championship six times.

The New Canaan Advertiser was the first to report Hickey’s decision to retire.

“It took me three or four months to work it out in my mind,” Hickey said. “I thought it was time to go.”

Highlights of Hickey’s career include coaching Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty for one season and a handful of other future pros from the local area. Two New Canaan teams under his leadership went unbeaten through the regular season, the 2010-11 squad (25-1, reaching the state semifinals) and the 1998-99 group (23-1-1, falling in the 37th minute of overtime in the Division I state final to Notre Dame-Fairfield). His 2003-04 team went 24-2.

Ever intent on attributing his program’s success to its players, Hickey continued to point in the direction of his kids, both past and present, upon discussing the news of his retirement Monday.

“I couldn’t ask for more from the people I got it from,” Hickey said. “All we did was win. I coached for 20 years and didn’t score a goal. The kids worked hard. They were like sponges. I must’ve had good kids, because we won.”

According to Rams football coach and close Hickey confidant Lou Marinelli, a unrelenting focus on doing right by his players has always been a Hickey hallmark.

“The thing about Bo is he’s always about the kids. No one will ever know how much money he willingly took out of his own pocket for his program,” Marinelli said. “He’s a dying breed.

“I’ve been here a long time and Bo was with me the entire time. He’s met a lot of kids and coached a lot of kids and it always amazes me when I go to a wedding or a christening because it always comes down to a group of guys telling Bo stories. He’s a guy kids will never forget.”

Andrew Callahan