“Retrospective: Remembering Former Pro Hockey Player and Burnaby Firefighter Ray Sawada
The hockey world paid emotional tribute to former pro hockey player and Burnaby firefighter Ray Sawada in a ceremony filled with nostalgia, love, and bittersweet memories. The retired hockey player passed away suddenly during a recreational hockey game back in April, leaving behind a legacy worth honoring.
Jersey Retirement Ceremony
The Richmond Sockeyes hosted the jersey retirement ceremony on Thursday evening, honoring Sawada’s memory by retiring his number 27. The ceremony was a heartwarming nod to his contributions to the sport of hockey and his impact as a beloved community figure, marking his jersey to be raised to the rafters at Minoru Arena.
Legacy and Impact
Sawada’s legacy as a star player for the Richmond Sockeyes two decades ago remains etched in the hearts of his fans and the hockey community. Drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round of the 2004 NHL draft, Sawada’s incredible journey through the sport was one filled with passion and commitment, inspiring young and old alike.
A Scholarship in His Name
The event was also an occasion to raise funds for a scholarship established in Sawada’s name, amassing over $27,000 for the noble cause. The scholarship reflects his lasting influence and support for young talents in pursuing their dreams both on and off the ice.
Gratitude and Remembrance
Doug Patterson, Richmond Sockeyes president, and fundraiser organizer Brianne Saeshima expressed gratitude for the outpouring love, care, and support shown to Sawada’s family. Joining the crowd in watching Sawada’s number climb high above the arena were his wife, Nicole, and two daughters. This unforgettable moment served as a testament to his enduring impact on his family and the people whose lives he touched.
The Long Road Ahead
Despite the immense support and financial aid through the GoFundMe created to help Sawada’s family, his legacy echoes profoundly, his absence a palpable void. The love, kindness, and empathy that poured in following his passing have brought comfort but have also added to the reminder of the enduring impact that happens when a life ends too soon.
The lasting legacy of Ray Sawada speaks of not only his athletic prowess and impact within the hockey community but also his strength as a family man and community leader. The emotions that filled the arena during the jersey retirement ceremony illuminated the enduring impact of Sawada’s life and the resilience shown by his loved ones. While no amount of tribute can assuage the deep-felt loss, Sawada’s legacy will continue to inspire, and his memory will live on in the annals of sports history. May his soul rest in peace.”