Former NHL Player-Turned Firefighter Dies During Rec League Game At 38

Former NHL player who later became a firefighter, Raymond Sawada, passed away on April 10, at the age of 38.

Sawada was playing recreational hockey at the Richmond Ice Centre in British Columbia when he collapsed on the bench and suffered a heart attack.

Despite efforts to revive him, he could not be saved.

Sawada had just celebrated his daughter's birthday before the game, and his sudden death has left his wife and two daughters in mourning.

Sawada played for the Richmond Sockeyes in the early 2000s and also played in the NHL for the Dallas Stars, appearing in 11 games. He spent most of his professional career in the American Hockey League and played abroad in Finland, Great Britain, and Japan before retiring in 2016 to become a firefighter with the Burnaby Fire Department.

The Richmond Sockeyes expressed their sadness and shock over the loss of their former teammate and plan to retire Sawada's jersey and establish a scholarship in his name to honor his memory. Sawada was also a devoted coach to his daughters and had given back to hockey through his involvement with the Sockeye alumni.

A GoFundMe campaign has been created to support Sawada's family, which has already surpassed its original goal of $50,000.

The Burnaby Fire Department, where Sawada worked, expressed their condolences and offered support to the family. Sawada was remembered as a great person who was passionate and dedicated in everything he did, both on and off the ice. Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports