Raymond Sawada, a former NHL player for the Dallas Stars, has died from a heart attack at the age of 38.
Sawada was a second-round pick (52nd overall) in the 2004 NHL draft. He played for the Dallas Stars in the 2008-09 season and, following his retirement from professional hockey in 2016, became a firefighter in British Columbia for the City of Burnaby.
On Monday, the young Canadian athlete was playing in a hockey game with the Richmond Cowboys when he suddenly suffered a heart attack.
Sawada left behind his wife and two young daughters, ages 9 and 6, whom he coached in hockey.
Just before the game he had been celebrating the birthday of his 9-year-old daughter Victoria.
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In a GoFundMe fundraiser for Sawada’s family, the organizer wrote, “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.”
The Dallas Stars honored their former player and offered their condolences to the deceased athlete’s friends and family in a tweet, saying, “It is with heavy hearts we mourn the passing of former Stars player, Raymond Sawada. Our love goes out to his family, friends, and all the people he impacted in hockey and as a firefighter in his community.”
It is with heavy hearts we mourn the passing of former Stars player, Raymond Sawada.
Our love goes out to his family, friends, and all the people he impacted in hockey and as a firefighter in his community. 💚 pic.twitter.com/x2vuOinbJ4
— x – Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 12, 2023
Sawada’s death adds to a growing list of young athletes who unexpectedly suffered heart attacks and, in many cases, dropped dead.
In December, a 22-year-old Colombian professional soccer player named Andres Balanta who played for the Argentinian team Atlético Tucumán died suddenly after suffering a heart attack and collapsing during the team’s first training session after their holiday break.
In January, a healthy young football star on the Air Force football team, Hunter Brown, died suddenly at the age of 21 from a blot clot in his lungs.
Also in January, a healthy 20-year-old soccer player named Luke Abrahams died suddenly, leaving his family, friends, and teammates devastated.
In a similar case just a month later, a perfectly healthy 23-year-old soccer player named Michael Palmer died unexpectedly after collapsing during a game.
In February, a 21-year-old football player from Jackson State named Kaseem Vauls suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated and placed on a ventilator. Fortunately, he was able to survive.
Just six weeks prior, a 24-year-old NFL player Damar Hamlin stunned the nation after he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during a Monday Night Football game. Miraculously, he was able to make a recovery.