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Who was Raymond Sawada, the former Dallas Stars player who passed away on Monday?

NHL fans were dealt a blow this week, with the sad news that former Dallas Stars player, Raymond Sawada, had passed away during a game in which he was playing.

Update:
NHL fans were dealt a blow this week, with the sad news that former Dallas Stars player, Raymond Sawada, had passed away during a game in which he was playing.
ETHAN MILLERAFP

A talented player and by all accounts and even better man, Sawada’s career in the NHL wasn’t as long as he hoped, but he definitely made his mark in the American Hockey League where he played extensively.

Former Dallas Stars player Raymond Sawada passes away

There was sad news earlier this week, with reports confirming that former Dallas Stars wing, Raymond Sawada, died at 38-years-old on Monday while playing a game of hockey. Via a GoFundMe page created in his honor as well as to assist his family, the heartbreaking announcement was made. Sawada is survived by his wife, Nicole and their two daughters, Victoria who is 9 and Charlotte who is 6.

“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the sudden passing of Ray Sawada,” the GoFundMe page read. “At age 38, Ray passed away on the evening of Monday April 10, 2023, while playing the game he loved.” While no cause of death was given, reports indicated that Sawada suffered cardiac failure on Monday night at a recreational league game that he frequently played in. Further to that, the city of Richmond, British Columbia also confirmed that a medical emergency had occurred that night at one of the city’s rinks.

The hockey player and the man: Who was Raymond Sawada?

After being drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round of 2004′s NHL Entry Draft as the 52nd overall pick, Sawada would go to appear in just 11 games between 2008 and 2011, scoring a single goal. Though his NHL career didn’t take off, it’s worth noting that his career in the American Hockey League was much more prolific, as he played in some 287 games. In 2013-14 he started the season playing with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL as he bided his time in hopes of another shot at the NHL, however, when one didn’t, he made his way to Tappara in the SM Liiga. Following that season in which he won a silver medal with Tappara, the British Columbia native joined the Belfast Giants for the 2014-15 season, before joining the Oji Eagles of the Asia League Ice Hockey. It would be the final season of his career in which he recorded 13 goals and 34 points across 33 games.

Interestingly, Sawada didn’t take the route traveled by many former professional athletes when their careers ended. Indeed, he returned home to Richmond where he became a firefighter and began to focus more on his family. “Ray was such a bright light in the lives he touched,” his GoFundMePage now reads. “He enjoyed traveling with Nicole, the girls, and family and friends. He was a talented hockey player and a dedicated coach for his girls. Ray was passionately driven and motivated in everything he did, and the surrounding community will be left with a void.” At the time of writing, Sawada’s fund had reached $313,352 Canadian dollars from more than 700 donations.