AJHL Mourns Loss of Team Founder Brian Nash

AJHL President Craig T. Cripps, along with AJHL Chairman Greg Wood and the AJHL Board of Governors wishes to extend its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Brian Nash and the Grande Prairie Storm organization.
Former Storm President and team founder Brian Nash died this morning in an Edmonton hospital. He was 62.
“Brian was one of the Storm founders and was very instrumental in ensuring a strong organization,” said Storm president Lionel Jones. “He was a character that brought a lot of new ideas as well as new business to Grande Prairie.”
Nash was a two-time president of the Storm – 1998-2000 and 2007-2009. He was one of the original founders who each contributed to pay off a debt left over from the previous junior team and help get Junior A hockey back on track in Grande Prairie.
“When you wanted good input on different ideas he was there with solid advice as well as financial support if required,” said Jones. “I will also remember Brian for his many suits and dress shirts and colourful ties. Brian will be missed at the Storm family and board, but will not be forgotten how much he gave to the hockey team he loved and believed in.”
Nash grew up in the Peace Country in Hines Creek and worked in Fort Nelson, B.C. before moving to Grande Prairie in the mid-1970s to work with CP Air.
His community involvement began shortly after he arrived in the city.
“I have known Brian for 35 years and have lived in Grande Prairie all of my life and there are few people in Grande Prairie who contributed to such a wide cross-section of the community as much as Brian did,” said Storm business manager Don Moon, whose son Liam is Nash’s godson.
His foray into the local sports scene included being manager of the Grande Prairie North Stars of the Peace Cariboo Junior Hockey League in the late-1970s and early-1980s. He also backed Grande Prairie’s first summer hockey and figure skating school at the same time.
“He even had to act as coach of the North Stars for a game when the coach was suspended and as if his presence behind the bench in this huge fur coat wasn’t enough to attract some attention the fact he fell off the bench certainly was,” said Moon. “We had lots of laughs about his first and only coaching experience.”
In the early-1980s Nash was behind a bid to get the North Stars into the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The bid failed and the team eventually folded.
“When the team folded they left behind a huge debt and Brian reached into his own pocket to pay it off,” said Moon. “He did a lot of financial giving in the community and never asked for, or wanted, any recognition for it.”
And when the junior team of the time, the Chiefs, were in huge debt in 1995 and about to fold Nash was one of the first to get in line to help bail the Swan City Hockey Association out. The result was the formation of the Storm and Nash was one of the founders.
He served as president of the Storm from 1998-2000 and again from 2007-2009. At the time of his death he was on the Storm executive as past president.
He also served on the first Grande Prairie Stompede executive, was on the Grande Prairie Airport board and the Crystal Centre Advisory Committee. He and business partner Ken Truhn started Grande Prairie’s annual country music festival, Bud Country.
He left CP Air to get into the travel agency business purchasing Reilly McFarlane Travel and re-naming it Marlin Travel. He also started Nash Tours and over the years escorted hundreds of area people to Las Vegas to enjoy the National Finals Rodeo and NASCAR racing.
“Brian’s life may have ended sooner than it should have, but he had a very full life and enjoyed every minute of it,” said Moon. “He was an outstanding marketer and businessman. He has been a great mentor over the years. We are all going to miss him.”
Nash is survived by his son Shawn Schell; grand-daughter Taylor Schell; brother Dennis Nash; sister Ardith Hodson; and numerous other relatives and friends.
There is a Memorial Service for Brian at the Crystal Centre in Grande Prairie on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 2 p.m.