It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our long-time friend and colleague, Mel Smith. Mel will be sorely missed by all the Grizzlies staff and volunteers as well as our current Grizzlies players and Alumni. The Grizzlies organization offer our deepest condolences to Mel’s family.
Mel Smith was our Equipment Manager, but he was so much more than that. He was a dedicated volunteer who worked harder and gave more than anyone we know. He was a true friend to all and mentor and surrogate father to all the young hockey players that have come through our doors.
Individuals like Mel Smith are definitely the heart and soul of the Grizzlies Organization. Quite simply put, without them we would not exist.
Mel was a steady rock for the organization and worked selflessly and tirelessly for the players and staff. He was our comfort on the road, serving up snacks, taking care of laundry, keeping the dressing room immaculate at all times, giving player rides whenever needed; he was always there. Mel cared about every player and every player appreciated all the things he did for them every day. He certainly left a positive impact on all of us.
“Mel made every player feel welcomed and a part of the Grizzlies organization whether you were an affiliate or a returning player. He supported and encouraged us as players but what I enjoyed most about Mel was our conversations about trucks and his stories about past players. He knew all our preferences and superstitions and made sure everything was perfect for us to perform our best on ice! Mel you have left big shoes to fill, you will be forever remembered and deeply missed!” – Darwin Lakoduk current player
“Mel was the backbone of our team. He was the warm-hearted friend you could always have a conversation with, but also worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the team was prepared every day. Whether it was waking up early to prep the locker room for a morning skate or staying up late at night to finish laundry Mel never complained and put everyone before himself. He was a role model for the organization. I’ll never forget the daily interactions of discussing team snacks, talking about teams in the league, or simply having a laugh together. We will all miss him very much”. -Ryan Nolan Alumni
Service will be held on Thursday, June 20 at Hatley Park at 1 pm, to be followed with a reception at 2 pm at the JDF Golf Course Fieldhouse.
On behalf of the Victoria Grizzlies Organization