More than 600 people, including several former Vancouver Canucks, gathered at the Powell River Recreation Complex on Monday, for a Celebration of Life in honour of Gary Lupul.
Lupul, the onetime Vancouver Canucks forward, passed away suddenly at the age of 48 on July 17th.
After signing as a free-agent with Vancouver in 1979, Lupul continued to play seven seasons in a Canucks uniform and garnered a reputation as the little scrapper, who surprised everyone with his 5’9 frame.
"A real feisty guy," said Jim Robson, Canucks long-time play-by-play broadcaster. "Gary was a real longshot to make the NHL, but nothing was going to stand in his way. The fans loved him, not only in Vancouver but throughout the league. He ran into some off-ice problems because of his easy-going personality, but he bounced back with the support of his friends in hockey."
As part of the 1982 Canucks team that reached the Stanley Cup finals, he registered five points in the post-season to add to his 17 regular season points.
Among those in attendance in Powell River were Canucks Alumni members Harold Snepsts, Chris Oddleifson, Stan Smyl, Kirk McLean, Dean Malkoc, Greg Neeld, Mark Lofthouse, Bob McCusker, Bernie Pascall, Doug Bodger and Greg C Adams.
Snepsts, a close friend and former teammate of Gary Lupul, addressed the large gathering with a humorous and entertaining eulogy. Lupul’s longtime Powell River friend Darrin Strueby and two of Gary’s nephews Kevin Clark and Blair Martin also shared in their memories of Lupul’s life and hockey career.
Lupul joined the Canucks scouting staff as the primary scout in the Ontario amateur hockey market, after his retirement to the sport.
"Gary was one of the most popular Canucks players in the history of the team and a key member of our scouting department,” said Canucks GM, Dave Nonis. “He will be greatly missed."
Gary Lupul will be sadly missed by all his friends and family, including his daughter Alexa, his parents Vic and Jean, his sisters Sandra and Corey and brother Terry.
"Hockey was his life. He played hockey since he was four years old," said Gary’s father, Vic Lupul. "The fans liked him and he got a chance to do what he liked."
Donations were requested to be sent to Canuck Place