James Howard: Top of Class in the OHA

James Howard-Thamesford Trojans-At the top of the class in the OHA

It is not surprising to see James Howard in the middle of a playoff battle with the Dorchester Dolphins in their first round of playoffs. James started his Junior Coaching career in Thamesford and is likely going to end it there.

James has been Coaching in the OHA for 33 years and has left his mark with many teams along the way.

He started coaching High School in London for 10 years. He always thought he would like to coach Junior Hockey.

When he saw that Thamesford was looking for a coach in the Junior D league he decided to apply and he got the job. In his first year in Thamesford, he made it to the league finals. The next 2 years he led them to back-to-back Junior D All-Ontario Championships.

After those two years, he jumped to Junior B with the London Nationals to coach with Jack Nairn. In year two he became the head coach of the Nationals. He coached there for two years before moving on to Paris to coach Junior C. In his second year in Paris, he led them to a Schmalz Cup championship.

After that, he moved on to Aylmer to coach Junior B again. In his second year in Aylmer, he lost in game 7 in the league final in overtime to St. Thomas.

After his stop in Aylmer, he headed back to Thamesford to win 5 straight Junior D Provincial championships.

Current Manager Brad Underwood says” James would always say quitting in life or in hockey is the easiest thing you can do. You owe it to yourself and your teammates to always give100 percent.”

Former player Kurtis White {2016-2020} says “Dicky is one of a kind, he was a very honest coach when dealing with his players and very fair. I was great full to be able to play for Dicky for three seasons in Thamesford where he taught me a lot about the game and how to play the right way. One thing I will always remember about Dicky is the metal pucks he brought out for practice. Dicky is truly one of the best coaches to ever coach in the OHA and wish him nothing but the best.”

Current players Jared and Luke Caldarozzi- “I remember when Luke and I were a very young age we would go watch some of the Trojan games with our dad {current coach John}. Mr. Howard always made time to say hello, and our dad would say if you’re lucky you might get to play for him one day. Now into our 3rd year with him. We understand what our dad meant. It is incredible the longevity Dick has shown, the dedication to the sport he loves. My brother and I learn something new from him every time we see him, hearing the stories. All of us are so happy he is still coaching us in Thamsford. We sincerely appreciate that he still makes the time to help us enjoy the game and be successful.”

Quin McKnight-1982-1986- “Hmm, I do remember after a weekend of games Dick would tell us we’ll have a light practice on Sunday or Monday just so that we would all show up. It would turn into a bag skate. I remember thinking, I should not have believed him.”

Lucas and Jake Ojero, Players,2016-2019-; Dicky is a great coach and even a better man. We are honoured to have been coached by him during our years at Thamesford. We are especially thankful for all the times he drove us to and from our residence at Western for games. Congrats on the recognition Dicky”

Rob Crowther-Player-1982-1986- “Dick was old school when it was old school. I was in grade 10 playing high school hockey and he had written out breakouts and pp, s and pk sets on a typewriter. He drew out all the ice movements. This is like 1987. He also has a great repertoire with the younger generation of coaches and players. He was determined to find ways for his teams to get better, it is why he won so many {10} OHA championships. He, s not afraid to ask others about ways to be better. It is what makes him so good.”


James feels fortunate to work with all the coaches and all the great kids over the past 33 years. In my opinion, the OHA and a lot of players and team personnel are lucky to have someone like James-Dicky-Howard in their life.


Doug Kennedy-PJHL