On Monday, April 10th, 2023, the sports world was rocked by the unexpected death of former NHL hockey player Raymond Sawada. The 38-year-old passed away suddenly following a recreational hockey game for the Richmond Cowboys. It was during the game he suddenly suffered a heart attack.
Sawada was a dauntless athlete, having been drafted in the 2004 NHL draft as a second-round pick, 52nd overall. After four years at Cornell University, Sawada advanced his career and spent 11 games in the NHL, with a single goal to his name. This led to him taking his talents overseas to the AHL. Sawada retired in 2016, becoming a firefighter in the City of Burnaby.
Social media has been inundated with tributes and condolences for the beloved player. Canadian defenseman, Troy Stecher of the Calgary Flames, shared his sentiments on Twitter, saying, “Ray was an idol for a lot of Richmond Minor Players growing up. Not only was he a successful hockey player, but he was a community hero and local firefighter.”
Sawada is survived by his wife, Nicole, and his two daughters, Victoria (9) and Charlotte (6). According to Nicole’s GoFundMe page for Raymond’s funeral expenses, “Ray was such a bright light in the lives he touched. He enjoyed traveling with Nicole, the girls, and family and friends. He was a talented hockey player and a devoted coach for his girls. Ray was extremely driven and motivated in everything he did, and the surrounding community will be left with a void.”
Raymond Sawada was a beloved player, coach, firefighter, and friend. He will be remembered fondly for his strength, passion, and tireless dedication to the game of hockey and his community.