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Funeral for K-W Siskins hockey player who died suddenly to be held Sunday | CBC News


The funeral for a K-W Siskins hockey player who died suddenly at his home in Owen Sound will be held Sunday.

Tyson Downs, 18, died on July 23. No cause of death has been released, but an obituary with the Wood Funeral Home in Owen Sound indicated his death was sudden.

“Whatever greater power took you without notice Ty, it had to have been a fierce silent power that you didn’t see coming because you would never have lost in a fair fight,” the family’s obituary says.

The Siskins announced Downs’ death on social media on Tuesday. Downs was a defenceman for the team who played his first season in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League last year. He was selected to play in the midwestern conference all-rookie team last season.

“His passion for the game was infectious, and his dedication to the team was unparalleled,” the Siskins said in a statement on the team’s Facebook page. “His passing leaves a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, Tyson. You will be missed but never forgotten.”

The Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League also extended sympathies to Downs’ family and the team. Prior to playing for the Siskins, Downs played for the Grey Bruce Highlanders. The Highlanders also offered “heartfelt condolences” to Downs’ family, friends and teammates.

Downs’ family said he was also passionate about golf and lacrosse, playing at the Legacy Ridge Golf and the Owen Sound Junior B Northstars Lacrosse.

“A true competitor through and through, he reached all of his goals with true grit and determination. He practiced hard and played even harder,” his obituary says.

The funeral will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Bayshore Community Centre. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked people to donate to “any minor sports association in Owen Sound” or the charity of their choice.

‘Picked him out of the crowd’

Curtis Clairmont recently retired as president of director of hockey operations and general manager for the K-W Siskins, a role he served in for the past 12 years. 

He remembers Downs coming to camp in April 2022 and Downs was the only player the team committed to inside the camp.

“We picked him out of the crowd,” Clairmont told CBC News. “I was impressed with his skating and compete level. Those are the two compelling reasons why we picked them as one of our defencemen.”

He said Downs was on the ice nearly daily and so he got to know him well.

“In my 12 years I’ve had about 300 players that have come through my program and everyone is so individual — individual in their character, individual in their hockey skills, individual in their upbringing. Everyone has his own story,” he said.

“Tyson’s story for me was a young man who came to our team, I believe it was his first time away from home for any prolonged period of time … Tyson loved his family, loved to be with his family and so when he came to us originally, [he was] kind of shy,” he said.

“We get to see these players really grow up before our very eyes. My memory of Tyson is watching him grow up through the year and not only the great person he was when he came but as the year progressed, and he’s in an environment of meeting new people through hockey players, being part of an organization like a junior hockey team, being away from home, you know, watching him become the man that I’ll remember.”

Clairmont says Downs loved being a Sisken and his family loved that he was part of the team, too.

“They live in Owen Sound, which is two hours away from Waterloo and … we played 70 games. I can’t remember missing a game,” he added. “The family was very close knit.”

The City of Waterloo will lower its flags to mark Downs’ death. Clairmont says the team has plans to remember Downs when they get back on the ice in a few weeks.

“The organization has decided that they are going to retire his jersey so no one will ever wear number 66 again,” he said.

“The jersey Tyson wore — so there’s a home and away jersey — one has already been hand-delivered to the family.”


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