Raymond Sawada

Raymond Sawada, a former second-round NHL draft pick, died unexpectedly on Monday of a heart attack. He was 38.

According to multiple reports, Sawada was playing in a recreational league hockey game near Vancouver, Canada when he died.

Selected by the Dallas Stars in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft, Sawada played 11 games with the team from 2008 through 2011. He spent most of his career in the American Hockey League (287 games) and other minor leagues, and even played for a time in Asia. He scored one goal in his NHL career.

The Stars remembered Sawada in a tweet Wednesday: “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.”

After retiring from hockey in 2016, Sawada began a career as a firefighter in Richmond, British Columbia.

Sawada is survived by his wife and two young daughters. His family created a GoFundMe page to remember Sawada.

“It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we share the devastating news of the sudden passing of Ray Sawada,” the GoFundMe page reads. “At age 38, Ray passed away on the evening of Monday April 10, 2023, while playing the game he loved.”

“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.”


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.