First Name: Jon
Last Name: Sim
Sport: Hockey
Inductee Type: Athlete
Year Inducted: 2022
Home Town: New Glasgow
County: Pictou

Even from the time he could barely walk, there was never a doubt what Jon Sim wanted to do with his life.

“Hockey was a huge part of my family,” recalls the New Glasgow native. “My Dad, Hughie, was my first coach. There were three boys, and starting at age 2, we would play hand hockey or mini-stick hockey in the hallway. It was the culture in our house. Every Saturday night we’d all sit around the TV and watch ‘Hockey Night in Canada.’ It’s the greatest game in the world and we loved it.”

For someone who would go on to play sixteen years of professional hockey, Sim admits he wasn’t exactly a prodigy in his early years.

“I was pretty skilled and really determined, but I don’t know if even scored five goals in my first year of Bantam,” he remembers. “But the next year, we had a great team. Colin White, Derrick Walser and Russell Smith were all on it, and I had an amazing year individually. I was named MVP at Atlantics, we lost in triple overtime in the final game, and people started to think I might have what it takes to play at a high level.”

According to the scouts of the day, the only thing that had the potential to hold Sim back was his lack of size. But Sim never bought into that theory, and neither did teammates like Colin White.

“Jonnie might not have been the biggest guy, but he was so skilled,” says White. “He was an amazing stickhandler, had a great release and wasn’t scared at all to get into the corners. He was small in stature but was so strong mentally.”

“I never actually thought I was small,” adds Sim. “When you think you’re small, you play small. But if you think you’re big, you can play big. I always kind of put that noise aside. I was gritty, I was fast, I wasn’t afraid, and I just love proving people wrong.”

The combination of skill and mental strength would allow Sim to shine for 4 memorable years with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL. He posted back-to-back

56-goal seasons and overall accounted for 165 goals and 311 points in that span, which are still team records to this day! The NHL would beckon next, and Sim was picked by the Dallas Stars in round 3 of the 1996 entry draft. His first NHL action would come later that season.

“I was playing for Michigan in the IHL when I got called up,” remembers Sim. “My first game I played in was in Nashville. I walked into the locker room and looked at the board and my name was beside Brett Hull and Mike Modano. That was the starting line – me on the left, Brett Hull the right and Mike Modano taking the faceoff!

I can vividly recall that they didn’t give me the puck much that game! And they had to keep reminding me to calm down. They kept saying, ‘Just play your game.’ And I kept saying, ‘I’m trying, I’m trying!’  They were awesome, and it was an incredible experience.”

Sim played well enough to stick with the Stars and was part of the roster as the team made its Stanley Cup run in 1999. And although he didn’t play much in the final, he still views it as a career highlight.

“I was with the team, I was the locker room, I was warming up every game,” recalls Sim. “Now I also was getting scratched every game, but just to be around the guys and be in the room was amazing.  Just to see what we had to go through, the up and downs of every series…it’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”

The coach of the 1999 Dallas Stars fondly remembers the contributions Sim made to the team’s championship run, and hints at the style of play that would define Sim’s NHL career.

“Jon was a great asset for us,” says Ken Hitchcock. “He was like a Swiss Army knife, a guy we could play anywhere at any different position. He could energize our group instantly and was also extremely skilled at getting the opposition angry!”

Sim agrees, and adds, “I knew I wasn’t going to score 50 goals in the NHL. What you have to do is learn how to play other ways to stay in the NHL. I was a hard worker, I was intense, and I got in people’s faces, and big guys don’t like when little guys get in their faces. They get ticked off and they whack you. And I would just keep going at a guy. If I knew I had him angry, I would just keep going. I took on role of ‘pest.’ It can be really annoying to your opponent, but it’s a role that teammates love.”

And it’s a role that Sim played to perfection for close to 500 games in the NHL, for teams in Dallas, Nashville, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Florida, Atlanta, and New York. He played hundreds more as well in the IHL and AHL. Today, he still spends 5 to 6 hours a day on the ice, helping the next generation of Pictou County hockey players develop, and hopes his story is an inspiration to the kids he mentors.

“Everyone told me I was too small, that I was from Nova Scotia, that not many players came from the province back in the day,” remembers Sim. “Even though I was told I wasn’t going to make it, I never let negativity creep in. Always be positive, never give up, it’s a game of will and determination… you should never take no for an answer!”

***Jon Sim is as involved with hockey as he’s ever been, perhaps even more. He works with the Atlantic Hockey Group, as a director for Nova Scotia. He coaches the major bantam team in Pictou, helps to coach the Weeks Majors 18 team, runs camps, manages spring hockey programs and does some scouting for the St. Louis Blues. He and his wife, Marla, have three sons. The oldest, Landon, was recently drafted by the Blues and plays for the London Knights of the OHL.***

  • All-time leading scorer for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL (165 goals and 311 points)
  • Played 469 career NHL games, scoring 75 goals and 139 points
  • Stanley Cup champion with the Dallas Stars in 1999
  • Calder Cup champion with the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL in 2005
  • Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) champion with the 2012 Berlin Polar Bears
  • Played with Team Canada at the 2002 Deutschland Cup

Photo Credits: Dallas Stars