Remembering Duncan

A video of Vernon Vipers owner Duncan Wray's retirement party in 2011 paints a picture of a man who is not only loved by his players and those who worked for him but in the community as well.

The highly respected team owner passed away suddenly earlier this week, leaving many people stunned by the loss.

Tributes continue to pour in for Wray, not only from friends and family but other BC Hockey League teams, showing just how respected he was.

A former oral surgeon, Wray purchased the Vipers in 1992 and it was obvious just how much he cared about his players, staff and community.

As a reporter who covered the Vernon Vipers for several seasons, one of the things that impressed me the most was how much he cared for the players.

He called them “his boys” and was respected as a father figure to many of the young athletes in his care who were living away from their families, many for the first time.

He looked at them as an extension of his own family.

Wray showed obvious pride whenever player received a hockey scholarship or moved on to the Big Leagues with several players under his time as owner making the NHL.

John Grisdale, BCHL commissioner, said Wray was well respected among his peers and will be a hard man to replace.

“I would reach out to him for advice and direction to see what he thought,” said Grisdale, adding Wray was not just a team owner, he was a fan of the sport and the league.

Grisdale said Wray's passing is a “huge loss” to the league.

“You don't replace someone like Duncan Wray very easily,” said Grisdale. “He was the chairman of the league. He was the league's leader. Without question, Duncan was respected around our table.”

Grisdale said the league will put together some sort of tribute for Wray.

The Vipers will play in Merritt tonight.

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