Brian Dalshaug, former Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey Coach. (Photo Submitted)

Brian Dalshaug, former Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey Coach. (Photo Submitted)

Sylvan Lake hockey community mourns the loss of former coach

Brian Dalshaug is remembered as the “father of competitive hockey in Sylvan Lake.”

Sylvan Lake’s hockey community is mourning the death of a prolific coach, who vaulted the town to its status as a hockey town.

Brian Dalshaug had a powerful impact on many in the community and the kids he coached on his hockey teams.

Dalshaug coached in Sylvan Lake and in Red Deer during the ‘80s and early ‘90s, and many of those he coached had successful hockey careers and became community leaders in Sylvan Lake and across North America.

Dalshaug died suddenly on Jan. 5 in his home in Kaslo, B.C. at the age of 72.

Sylvan Lake Hockey Camp founder and president Graham Parsons calls him the “father of competitive hockey in Sylvan Lake.”

“He put us on the map provincially,” Parsons said. “Before he came we were playing teams like Eckville, Bentley and Spruceview. With him we started playing teams like Camrose and Innisfail.”

At the time Sylvan Lake was a small community with less than 5,000 people. Under the coaching of Dalshaug, known as Coach D to many, Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey went on to play in major tournaments and even win provincial titles.

Pat Garritty was one of the many kids he taught during his tenure in Sylvan Lake. He says he remembers being the underdog in many situations, and came out on top.

In the early ‘80s, Coach D took his team to a tournament in Penticton, B.C. where the team was a “fish out of water.” Dalshaug and the Lakers went on to make a splash and won the tournament.

“We would go to these games and tournaments with 12 to 14 kids and we would win it,” remembers Garritty.

It was just that he coached, it was how he coached and the lessons he taught his players.

Garritty says he and the other players on his team learned accountability, team work, leadership and discipline under Coach D’s watch.

“There are things I do today that I do because of him and what I learned and watched him do,” said Garritty.

Parsons says Coach D’s teachings were ahead of his time.

“You run into someone who is truly special, a real one-in-a-lifetime kind of person, so rarely, but he was really one of those guys,” said Parsons.

Parsons continued, remembering Coach D was a health inspector with no kids of his own, he just loved the game of hockey.

Some of his players have gone on to play professionally, and coach across North America, and each has made huge impacts on their communities.

“There is this spiderweb of influence that all starts with this guy,” said Parsons.

Garritty and Parsons said they kept in contact with Coach D even after he moved from the area to Lethbridge and then to Kaslo.

Most recently they had spoken with him during the World Junior’s tournament, which Canada lost the gold medal.

“His death was so unexpected… I am really going to miss him,” said Garritty.

The local hockey community is planning to honour the memory of the ‘father of competitive hockey’ with a memorial game later this summer.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jason Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ the premier said

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Most Read