“Zac is an amazing young man. He came to our home in October (2012). He is always polite and very respectful and has become a part of our family,” said Gail Dicks. “Our 16-year-old son and Zac get along great, and we really enjoy spending time with him.
“When it comes to hockey, you only have to talk to him for a very short time to see that this is his passion. He is very dedicated, working out at the local YMCA whenever he has a chance, and is also taking university classes online while he’s here. He gets along well with teammates, and one of them shares a room with him.
“Zac takes his role as a key defenseman very seriously, and the organization recognizes his leadership abilities and dedication to the team.”
Dicks said her family has been season ticket holders for four years and have been a host family for Lumberjack players for a year-and-a-half. At one time during training camp, there were four members of the team living with the Dicks.
“As much as we love the games, we love the boys more,” said Dicks. “Lots of times we have a number of the boys here and have had a couple of barbecues for the whole team. We wouldn’t trade a minute of this experience.”
The feeling is mutual. Zakas said the Dicks have been wonderful to him, making the adjustment to life so far away from home so much easier.
“The hardest part of being in Nova Scotia is being away from my family, but the family I live with here has been amazing,” said Zakas, who is listed on eliteprospects.com. “It’s awesome playing on a Friday night in front of 1,000 screaming people. Since the town is so small,, you’re treated like a celebrity. I get stopped all the time for autographs, and everyone seems to know who you are no matter where you go. It’s a really amazing feeling. We do a lot of volunteer work as a team visiting schools and helping youth teams at practice.”