The Sunshine Coast community is reeling after the tragic death of a promising young athlete from Roberts Creek.
Connor Richey, 20, died Sunday in hospital from injuries sustained Saturday night after a fall from a railing at the Broadway and Commercial Sky Train Station.
According to BC Transit Police, Richey and his girlfriend got off at the station after attending the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game at BC Place.
"He jumped up on a railing inside the station and sat on it, facing the platform," said the BC Transit Police news release. "It appears he lost his balance and fell approximately 30 feet to the sidewalk below. He was transported to hospital with serious injuries and passed away on Sunday afternoon."
Transit Police and the BC Coroners Service are jointly investigating the accident.
Richey graduated from Elphinstone Secondary School in Gibsons where he excelled in a number of sports: soccer, wrestling, track and field, biking, triathlon, cross-country and, his deep passion, golf. He was about to embark on the next part of his education by attending Ranger College in Texas on a golf scholarship.
He was also a member of the University of Fraser Valley Cascades men's golf team, which won the 2011 PACWest silver medal, and the 2011 CCAA bronze medal. He also received a medalist honour at the 110th BC Amateur Championship and was a member of the British Columbia Golf Association.
His Twitter bio said it all: "Canadian golfer - grinding hard to make a dream become a reality."
Three weeks ago he won the Sechelt Amateur golf title with record scores for the tournament. (See more details on page 54.)
"Everyone here at Sechelt Golf Club feels very honoured to have Connor as this year's champion," said club pro Mike Hobson.
"Moving forward the Sechelt Amateur trophy will be renamed the Connor Richey trophy. We are all grieving here, much like the rest of the Coast. It is very hard to see such a quality young man with so much potential be taken at such a young age."
Richey was a beloved member of the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club (SCG&CC), playing hundreds of rounds of golf and working hard to be the best he could be.
SCG&CC head pro Jim Pringle formed a close relationship with Richey over the years.
"He was my little buddy," Pringle said. "He started working here when he was 14. He was a skinny little kid washing golf carts, and then about 18 months after he started working here, he really got serious about his golf. The summer that he decided golf was going to be his game he started hitting 300 to 500 balls a day. He had a level of commitment in a young person that I had never seen before. It was a true and honest attempt to become a great player."
Pringle said Richey has had a profound effect on other younger golfers at the course and the membership as a whole.
"The young members looked up to him. They saw his work ethic, his drive and determination and saw what it takes to become a champion," Pringle said. "What I will always remember of his performances, whether it was a casual or competitive round, was how he managed his emotions, and he carried himself like a golfer should - a true professional in every sense of the word. I'm so sorry for his friends and family. He was such a larger than life character. He always had a smile on his face and meant so much to everyone here."
As news of his sudden passing spread amongst his friends, many turned to Twitter and Facebook to offer their fond memories, stories and condolences to the Richey family.
Close friend Brian Jones said, "If someone's supposed to pass away, it's not supposed to be one of the most motivated, kind-hearted, passionate and positive guys I've ever been lucky enough to spend time with. As an athlete and as a friend, he was inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are inadequate compared to those of your amazing family and the community that loved you. Rest easy, Connor."
A Celebration of Life will be held at 4 p.m. this Monday, Aug. 19, at the SCG&CC.
© Coast Reporter