FORMER STORM DIES IN ACCIDENT
Posted on 06/30/2012
The Peace Country hockey world is mourning a big loss on Saturday.
Garrett Larson, who played his minor hockey in Rycroft before joining the Grande Prairie Storm and eventually the Grande Prairie Athletics, died in a vehicle accident on the west side of the city early this morning.
Larson, who was 31, leaves to mourn his wife Jenn and three children as well as other family and many friends inside and outside the hockey world.
"Garrett was one of the nicest guys who ever pulled a Storm jersey over his head," said Storm business manager Don Moon. "This is a tragic loss for the community, the family and the many friends Garrett accumulated during his years growing up in the area."
Larson played three seasons with the Storm from 1998-2001. He received a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I scholarship and played four years with Sacred Heart University. He also played one game in the Central Hockey League with the Witchita Thunder before returning to the Peace Country.
"It is a very sad and tragic time for not only the Storm famil,y but more so the Larsons and especially for his wife Jenn and their kids," said Storm coach/general manager Blaine Bablitz, who played with Larson in 1998-1999. "Garrett was one of the better players of all time for the Grande Prairie Storm. He had a great shot and always found a way to score goals.
"More importantly he was a great teammate and was very well liked by all the guys who he played with. He will be dearly missed by so many people and I would like to send my condolences to his wife, family and friends."
After returning to the area to begin his work career Larson, who is seventh in all-time points for the Storm, played senior hockey, first with the Spirit River Rangers and then the last few seasons with the Athletics.
"Garrett was a competitor," said Moon. "In his 174 games with the Storm he averaged almost a point a game. When he was with the Storm he showed up to play every game and that dedication and his skill earned him a scholarship.
"He was one of the best forwards on the A's and always showed up when it mattered - like the playoffs. I was fortunate to watch him score an overtime goal this year in Spirit River that advanced the A's to the NPHL final and then got to see him in the final where he was outstanding. He had a lot of passion for the game."
News of Larson's death spread quickly across social media.
"RIP GL #37. You made me a better hockey player and person. Thoughts and prayers to Roy, Georgie, Jen and the rest of the Larson family. Always remembered. Never forgotten." Former Storm and current Spirit River Ranger player Dustin Sather
"RIP Garret Larson. Thoughts and prayers go out to Jen and their family." Former Storm player Jeff Craik
"Thoughts and prayers go out to the Larson family. Terrible tragic news. Stay strong for your family Jenn." Former Storm player Adam Loncan
The Storm will wear a GL decal on their helmets this coming season.
"We will also be talking with the Storm Alumni Association to come up with some way we can honor Garrett at a Storm home game this year," said Moon.
Larson is the second Storm player to die tragically.
Reg Heinen, also a forward like Larson, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Calgary in September of 2001. Heinen was from Peace River.