Everyone needs to belong to a club. For Braxton Leask and Dylan Buckle, that club was Powell River Villa.
A double memorial service on the afternoon of Saturday, July 8, ended in a rousing version of the Villa soccer song, a fitting tribute to two young men who lived and breathed the sport until the day they died.
Because of the support from family and friends, Leask and Buckle were introduced to soccer at an early age and it became a huge part of their upbringing.
Villa president Jamie Zroback announced at the memorial service that the team would honour the two fallen players by putting their initials on team jerseys. Zroback said this will ensure future generations of Villa soccer players and fans never forget the men’s story.
It was a classy tribute that shows how much the deaths of the two young men have affected the soccer club. As important as Villa was to Leask and Buckle, they were equally as important to the team.
With their Villa jerseys hanging below their photos at the memorial service, the sense of belonging and impact the men had on the community provided some peace for family members and friends in attendance.
“To see the community support behind these two boys, in particular the Villa soccer club, was absolutely unbelievable,” said Buckle’s mother Terry after the ceremony.
During the reception, Terry told Zroback a story of Buckle coming out to a Villa game as a small child. Zroback said the vivid memory of that day immediately came back to him.
Infatuated with soccer from a very early age, the young Buckle was thrilled to be at a Villa game, getting a tour from Zorback that included sitting on the bench and going inside the clubhouse to meet players. He told Zroback, “I just want to be old enough to play.”
Zroback said he will never forget Buckle’s small hand clasped in his own as he led the small boy around the field.
Leask lost an eye when he was five years old, but that did not stop him from being an exceptional soccer player and eventually realizing his dreams of playing for his hometown team.
Buckle and Leask went from idolizing the players on the field to having a younger generation idolize them; the true power of inspiration in sport.
These were “Villa boys” with “Villa hearts,” and their hearts will always be on the field with their teammates.
Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor