The bleachers at the Ponoka Cultural and Recreation Complex were packed for Stampeders’ first home game on Wednesday. Jan. 15 after the passing of Damian Pannenbecker, which the team had announced would be a tribute to the memory of the deceased defenseman.
Before the game started, a eulogy was read as Damian’s teammates held up his # 17 jersey in the middle of the rink before the public announcer invited all present to stand in a minute of silence in memory of the young life lost.
“Panny was a valued member of the Stamps,” said the announcer in reading the eulogy.
“His solid play, determination and dedication showed up every shift he played. He had a witty sense of humour and wasn’t afraid to say what was on his mind. He was a positive role model in the dressing room for all.”
“His love for sports was evident from playing hockey in winter, ball in summer and watching his beloved Maple Leafs,” it went on.
It was later announced that Damian’s jersey was being retired as a tribute to his contribution to the Ponoka Stampeders Hockey Club.