Sidoriak, Others Weigh In On ‘The First State Difference’

First State hockey director Sean Cannon has a long history of developing youth hockey players and preparing them for high levels of competition. A number of Cannon’s former players — including a current First State skills coach — were willing to share from their experiences.

“Coach Cannon has been there to help me develop since I was a mite,” said University of Delaware defenceman Ivan Sidoriak, who played for Cannon as a mite with the Delaware Stars and again with the Valley Forge Minutemen before earning the Tim Roman Rookie of the Year Award with the Blue Hens’ Division 1 ACHA team this season. He was third among Delaware defencemen with 18 points this season — a fact made all the more impressive when considering he missed 12 games in the fall semester due to an upper-body injury.

Sidoriak, who is heading into his sophomore year at Delaware, will also work with First State Ice Hockey’s Flames and ASAP programs throughout the 2020-21 season as a skills coach.

“I was lucky to have him as a coach at a young age and more recently at the end of my youth hockey career,” Sidoriak continued. “His knowledge and passion for the game are apparent in many aspects of his coaching. Without him, I would not have grown into the player I am today.”

Additionally, Cannon’s coaching has helped pave the way for players to reach the junior and varsity collegiate ranks.

“Knowing what Cannon has done in the past as a coach, I thought it would be dumb not to go and play for him,” said Riley Jensen, a Wisconsin native who also played for the Minutemen and who just completed his first season of NCAA Division III hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisc. “He not only developed me as a player, but as a person. Playing for Cannon was a memory in my career that I won’t forget. I cherish every opportunity he gave me as a player.”

Adam Smith, who scored a goal and registered an assist in 12 games this season for the Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League, echoes Sidoriak and Jensen’s sentiments about Cannon’s impact, both on and off thee ice.

“Coach Cannon has been tremendous for me both in my development on the ice and as a person,” Smith said. “I am grateful for the opportunities he has given me. I can’t speak highly enough about how fortunate I am to have played for him.”

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