The Grande Prairie Storm were joined by several alumni for a special opening weekend, including the retirement of Dustin Sather's #33.
Prior to Saturday’s game, the Storm held an alumni game, featuring past players.
In a pre-game ceremony, the Storm retired Dustin Sather’s #33 jersey to the Revolution Place rafters, joining Mike Mohr’s #2 and Mike Lefley’s #11.
The ceremony featured a video montage of Sather when he played for the Storm 2002-2007, as well as celebratory messages from former players and coaches, including former Storm coach Fran Gow.
Sather was joined on the ice by girlfriend Carissa McGonigal, their two-year-old daughter Rowan, parents Craig and Koreen Sather and brother D’Lane.
After Sather’s jersey was unveiled hanging from the rafters, the current Storm roster came off the bench and formed a line to shake his hand.
Sather, a native of Wanham, is the Storm’s all-time leader in points (323), goals (120), assists (203) and games played (287).
“It gives a guy chills. A lot of the best moments in my hockey career have been here in Grande Prairie and in front of this crowd and with the teammates that I have had, it’s been a blessing and it’s great to be back to where it all started. I couldn’t be happier right now,” said Sather, rinkside after the pre-game ceremony, of seeing his jersey in the rafters.
Sather says the most memorable experiences from his time with the Storm was the hard work the coaches put into the team.
The left-winger’s best season came in 2006-2007 – his final season with the Storm – when he eclipsed the 100-point plateau with 41 goals and 63 assists. He won the AJHL’s Scoring Champion –the Ernie Love Trophy – was named Most Valuable Player –Alberta Old Time Hockey Players Trophy.
“I remember coming to camp here when I was 15 and all 5’5” and 120 pounds of me. I was years away from playing with this team, but I always looked up to the Storm and I always wanted to play here in my hometown. It took a lot of work, but I always reflect on it a lot,” said Sather, adding that his time playing for the Storm were “the best years of my life.”
Sather credits his family for his career success and well as Fran Gow, who coached Sather during his time with the Storm.
“I couldn’t say enough about that guy (Gow). Good or bad, he always took care of his players and he was competitive and he wanted to win just as much as his players. I owe a lot of success here in Grande Prairie to him, for sure,” said Sather.
After the Storm, Sather suited up for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
Sather now plays for the Spirit River Rangers, of the North Peace Hockey League.
Full Story from The Daily Herald Tribune