Adrian “Dudz” Dudzicki was a warrior on the squash court and equally driven out of uniform.
“He wanted to be successful in life,” said Squash Canada executive director and friend Danny Da Costa. “He was passionate, witty, you know, he loved the sport. He got along well with people.”
Dudzicki, 23, was killed in Toronto on Wednesday morning while cycling to the National Squash Academy where he trained.
He was struck by a BMW and pronounced dead at the scene.
Aleksey Aleksev, 20, of Toronto, is charged with dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death.
Dudzicki was born in Latina, Italy, and raised in Ottawa.
He got hooked on squash when he was 12, and began training at the Ottawa Athletic Club with professional Johnny Wilson.
Dudzicki attended Hillcrest High School, near the General hospital, then went on to study at the University of Ottawa.
Top-ranked Canadian squash player Samantha Cornett grew up with Dudzicki and also moved to Toronto for training.
“Adrian was a really nice person, always happy to lend a hand. He once spent two hours walking me through something he can get done in 15 minutes,” said Cornett.
Consistently cheerful, “his fight and feisty personality is notable,” she added.
Cornett described her friend as an accomplished athlete and scholar, “completing his undergraduate degree, while training, in anticipation of training full time,” she said.
He also managed to hold down a summer job last summer and “was very proud to be a good and dependable employee.”
Dudzicki was a “very determined guy, and I’m glad to know him,” said Cornett.
“Nothing around here will be the same, as we are all used to him being the first to arrive and the last to leave.”
In addition to athletic endeavours, Dudzicki was talking about pursuing a MBA, said Da Costa.
Relocating to Hogtown didn’t stop Dudzicki from cheering on the Ottawa Senators.
Dudzicki still updated his Facebook profile with posts such as “Go Sens go!!!” and “Big game tonight!!!”
Dec. 26 would’ve marked his 24th birthday.
The tight-knit squash community is devastated by his death, said Da Costa.
Still, “it’s important that his story gets told,” he said.
“He sort of came from nothing. He had a dream to be a squash player and he was trying to fulfill his dream.”