Former NHLer suffers heart attack while playing hockey, dies at just 38 years old

Raymond Sawada was selected in the 2nd round, 52nd overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He was picked by the Dallas Stars and was also the team captain for Cornell University before making his NHL debut.

He played his first game with the Dallas Stars in the 2008-09 season, but in his years playing hockey, he didn’t play more than 11 NHL games, picking up one goal. However, he played 287 games in the AHL and overseas in Finland, Great Britain, and Japan. 

But now, devastating news about Sawada is being reported by several online outlets. According to the reports, Sawada passed away earlier this week following a heart attack. He died at just 38 years old. 

His family left a statement on a Go Fund Me page, saying that Sawada passed away while playing hockey.

”It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the sudden passing of Ray Sawada. At age 38, Ray passed away on the evening of Monday April 10, 2023, while playing the game he loved. He leaves behind his loving wife, Nicole, his two young and incredibly amazing daughters, Victoria (9) and Charlotte (6), and his supportive, devoted, and dedicated family and friends,” the announcement reads.

According to the statement, Sawada worked as a firefighter for the City of Burnaby.

”He joined Burnaby Fire in 2017 and has been an integral part of the department where he served with distinction and honor.”

NHLer Troy Stecher wrote an emotional message on Twitter:

The money raised from the fundraiser on GoFundMe is supporting his wife, Nicole, as she’s currently taking unpaid time off work. The family is, of course, in shock, and the statement is heartbreaking:

”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 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.

”For the girls and Nicole, losing their dad and husband is going to leave a sad mark on their hearts and make for a long road ahead. From the family, we are truly grateful for the love and support that we have already received. We appreciate every single message and act of kindness. We feel the love. It gives us reassurance that throughout this sad and difficult time, there are so many who love and care for the family.”

Thoughts and prayers to Raymond Sawada’s family. Gone but never forgotten.