A fundraiser has been launched through GoFundMe to support the family of Raymond Sawada, a 38-year-old Burnaby firefighter and former NHL player who passed away unexpectedly while playing hockey on Monday evening. The fundraiser was initiated by Brianne Sameshima, who stated in the post that Sawada is survived by his wife Nicole and two daughters, Victoria (9) and Charlotte (6).
Sameshima further expressed that the loss of Sawada would leave a profound impact on his family, and they would face a challenging road ahead. Sawada grew up in Richmond and played hockey at Cornell University before signing a two-year contract with the Dallas Stars.
Prior to his NHL career, Sawada played in the Pacific Junior Hockey League with the Richmond Sockeyes. According to Richmond Sockeyes President Doug Patterson, Sawada’s death came as a traumatic shock to the community. He revealed that it was Sawada’s oldest daughter’s birthday on the same day, and the family was celebrating before the hockey game.
Patterson noted that he has known Sawada for several years, and both his and his wife’s families have a long history in Richmond. He further stated that the Sawada family and Nicole’s family are both Richmond natives, and the community is devastated by the tragic news.
The GoFundMe page initially aimed to raise $50,000 for the Sawada family, but within hours, the donations exceeded $168,000, indicating an outpouring of support from the community.