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Preview/Lines #19: Cicek Shares His Parents’ Unlikely Love Story

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Credit: AP Photo/Eric Jamison

Nick Cicek is 50 percent Turkish and is believed to be the first player in NHL history with a Turkish background.

Cicek made his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights. The defenseman was paired with Mario Ferraro and played 17:35 across 21 shifts.

Toward the end of Thursday’s morning skate, San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn had a one-on-one conversation with Cicek regarding his NHL debut.

“[Quinn] said he was happy with how I played,” Cicek told San Jose Hockey Now. “We talked about a couple of things that he thought I could have fixed a little bit, but overall, he was happy with my game, and he just wants me to build off it and keep being confident.”

With about ten seconds left in the first period, Cicek tried to move the puck forward from his blue line but mishandled the puck, which caused a costly turnover. That mishap led to the game’s first goal, scored by Vegas centerman Jack Eichel with 3.9 seconds left. During Vegas’ second goal, Cicek attempted to pinch, but the puck got past the blue line, leading to a 2-on-1 against goaltender James Reimer. Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault finished the play by beating Reimer on a short-side shot.

“[The] first goal I know you look at that, I mean, there was a lot of things that happened,” Quinn said in regards to Cicek. “Yeah, I mean, that never should have gotten to that point. The second one is just double coverage outside the dots. I mean, it’s something that he’ll do a better job of. He’s a quick learner.”

Quinn added: “He’s a smart player. He makes a good outlet pass, closes on people quick, and he’s competitive.

“He played with a swagger, and if you’re going to be successful in this league, you better have swagger.”

Cicek clarified on Thursday that he is not a citizen of Turkey but that his father, Nazim, is. Nazim is a dual citizen after obtaining Canadian citizenship and maintaining his Turkish citizenship status.

“I am 50% Turkish, but I think I might be the first [player] of Turkish descent, which is pretty cool,” Cicek said. “It’s awesome. I mean, it’s big for my family.”

The San Jose Sharks’ blueliner is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, just like his mother, Jillian. Jillian met Nazim while attending the University of Cincinnati to study education. Nazim migrated from Turkey after receiving a scholarship for the school’s engineering program.

“[He was] the only one from his family to really leave, and my mom was coming from Winnipeg. They met there and then ended up coming back to Winnipeg,” Cicek told SJHN. “She was an 11th-grade English teacher for a while, but now they’re both professors at the University of Manitoba, both in engineering.”

Nick’s parents were not able to attend his debut in Las Vegas, but his younger brother Michael, who plays for the Spokane Chiefs, was in attendance. Jillian will be at tonight’s game versus the Detroit Red Wings, and Nazim is on his way to San Jose, according to Cicek.

Cicek Still Smiling After NHL Debut

San Jose Sharks (6-9-3)

James Reimer will start his fourth-straight game.

Detroit Red Wings (7-5-4)

This is how the Red Wings lined up in their last game on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 PM PST at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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