The Ponoka Minor Hockey Association held a memorial jersey ceremony on March 10 at the Ponoka Arena Complex in honour of Levi Busat and Sam Neath.
Both young men had been players with the association and lost their lives within the past 14 months.
The stands were packed with students, teachers and community members, leaving standing room only, as the U18 Fountain Tire Ponoka team and the visiting Rimbey Renegades filed onto the ice.
After some words were given by a couple of speakers, the jerseys were revealed.
Busat passed away on April 29, 2021, at age 17.
He had played hockey since he was three years old. In 2020, PMHA awarded him the most sportsmanlike award.
“This player has enormous talent at both ends of the ice and always carries himself extremely well,” stated a Facebook post dated April 25, 2020.
“For one of the younger guys on the team, it was amazing to watch him both on and off the ice this season. He could always be counted on to be rock solid on defence and he was a valuable mentor to rookie players. For always being graceful, win or lose, this award goes to Levi Busat.”
His jersey number was 12.
“Levi was number 12 on the ice but will always be number one in our hearts,” his obituary reads.
Neath passed away suddenly on Jan. 1, 2021 at age 20.
His favourite sport growing up was hockey. He played with PMHA and was a repeat participant in the Black Elk Hockey camp in Ponoka.
He lived in Ponoka from age three until after graduation when he moved to Edmonton.