Parents and players of the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association are mourning the sudden death of longtime volunteer hockey coach and dad, Derek Christianson.
Christianson’s sons Maverick and Dane have been avid hockey players in the WLMHA since they were very young and their dad volunteered as an assistant coach through the novice, atom and peewee divisions. His wife Christine also volunteers with the association as a team mom.
WLMHA Atom division co-ordinator Kris Beaulne said the death is a terrible loss for the family and also for Williams Lake.
“Derek will be greatly missed by the WLMHA as he was a beloved coach of his elder son’s peewee team and mentor,” Beaulne said Monday.
Customers and staff at Spectra Power Sports, where Christianson helped out over spring break up, are also mourning the loss.
“It was very sudden and sad,” said Spectra owner Heino Seibert of the news of the death.
As well as his interests in hockey, Christianson, who was also known as Diggler, was an avid outdoorsman who loved dirt biking, snowmobiling and stock car racing.
“Derek was a very nice man. He was a tough guy on the outside but really he was one of the softest-hearted guys I’ve known,” said Seibert. “He was very generous with his time. He would help anyone really. He’d be the guy who would stop and help someone on the side of the road, even if he had nothing to give.”
A celebration of life was held for Christianson last Saturday at the Gibraltar Room.
A procession carrying race cars, dirt bikes and snowmobiles will arrive at the back entrance of the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex at 1 p.m. for those who would like to see it.
Donations can be made to the family at the Williams Lake and District Credit Union under the name Christianson Family Fund.