If and when the minor and junior lacrosse seasons resume this spring, there will be a familiar face missing at the arena doors, timekeeper’s bench, even behind the griddle coaching players how to flip pancakes.
Marc Lalonde, an executive with the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs, volunteer with the minor program, as well as a lacrosse dad himself, passed away unexpectedly last Sunday.
Garrett Ungaro, the president of the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association, said Lalonde’s passing will leave a huge hole in the sport’s community.
“He was everywhere, and he always had a smile on his face,” Ungaro said of Lalonde, who was 49 and worked as a mortgage broker. “He was the first guy to step up and volunteer.”
Ungarro said Lalonde acted as a kind of “conduit” between Coquitlam’s minor and junior programs. He organized community outreach efforts like pancake breakfasts, ran game-day operations, coordinated volunteers, made public address announcements and arranged billet families for players coming from out of town.
But, he added, Lalonde always kept an eye on what was most important, his own family. In fact, he’d leave his duties at a Jr. Adanacs game to go support his own kids at their minor match, then hustle back in time for the final whistle.
Lalonde’s passion for helping out wasn’t just limited to lacrosse. He was also involved with the Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association as well as the Tri-City Predators female hockey program.
“Marc touched many of us as a coach, a leader and a friend,” said CMHA president Steve Adrain in a statement. posted to the organization’s website.
Lalonde also pitched in away from arenas. He was a tireless volunteer with KidSport as well as Operation Red Nose that ensures partiers get home safely from their holiday events every Christmas and New Years season.
“He made such a huge difference in our community,” said KidSport Tri-Cities executive director Chris Wilson in a Facebook post. “We lost a good one, a true leader.”
A GoFundMe page to establish a foundation that will carry on Lalonde’s legacy for volunteerism in the community has already surpassed its goal of raising $100,000.
“He pursued all endeavours filled with passion and enthusiasm” said a statement from Lalonde’s family that also urged anyone struggling with grief or their mental health to contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 833-456-4566.