Clippers will honour beloved alum with helmet decals, memorial scholarship
By Amy Robertson
The Briercrest College and Seminary Clippers will honour one of their own this fall.
Colin Burritt, of Medicine Hat, Alta., played Clipper hockey from 2000-2003. He died July 5, 2010, after a battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He was 29.
At his funeral July 9, several of his former Caronport teammates decided they needed to do something to honour their friend.
A teammate contacted Briercrest’s Athletic department, and administrators decided that in keeping with the athletic tradition of honouring a deceased teammate on a uniform, this year’s hockey team will wear a decal on their helmets representing Burritt: it depicts his initials, C.B., suspended over a ship, which was the Clipper logo when Burritt played.
Terry Dyck, the hockey team’s current coach, felt it was important for the team to honour Burritt even though he graduated from Briercrest more than seven years ago.
“Once you’re a Clipper, you’re always a Clipper,” he said. “It’s like a family ... He was one of us.”
Brent Wiens, 31, a classmate who roomed with Burritt’s brother while they were Briercrest students, described Burritt as “big-hearted.”
To honour his friend, Wiens came up with the idea of a memorial scholarship for a first-year Clipper hockey player.
Burritt completely embodied what it meant to be a Clipper, according to Wiens.
“He was a total athlete,” he said, referring to Briercrest Athletics’ commitment to “The Total Champion Way,” which the department describes as achieving excellence in sport, in academics, and in the athlete’s relationship with God.
“He wanted to use his sport as ministry ... that was Colin,” Wiens added.
The Clipper hockey team's helmet, adorned with a decal honouring Colin Burritt. Photo by Rob Schellenberg.Wiens said he first thought about setting up a fund for Burritt’s wife, Missy, and their young sons, aged 2 and 4. When he found out that Burritt’s family would be taken care of, he thought next of the hockey program that had been so important to Burritt.
The former hockey player wants the scholarship to help recruit new players so that the program can develop the way Burritt “wanted it to develop,” Wiens said.
He hopes to raise a total of $5,000 for the first recipient, to be disbursed over five years of athletic eligibility. So far, $300 has been raised, and Wiens hopes Briercrest will be able to award the scholarship this fall.
As for the helmet decals, that’s “a very classy move by the school,” said Wiens. “It’s good for alumni to see they matter to the school.” Dave Cunning, 28, another of Burritt’s teammates, wrote a tribute to his friend on his blog July 3, just two days before Burritt died:
“As a walk-on rookie for the Briercrest Clippers college hockey team in 2002, I was fortunate enough to make some good and lasting friendships with some of the older players on our team,” Cunning wrote.
“One of them was a guy named Colin Burritt ... Whereas a lot of veterans can make the existence of a rookie quite miserable, our team was a lot different in that aspect, and Colin was one of those guys that made that happen.... He was a guy that made me feel comfortable, valued, and respected on the team, and in life....
“As a Christian, husband, father, man, and friend, Colin has inspired me to be better. I hope that I can operate on that level myself someday. Scroll through some of the comments on [Colin and Missy’s] blog (go-team-burritt.blogspot.com), and you’ll soon see that his battle has touched many, many others in much the same way. There are already talks of scholarships, tournaments, and trophies being named after him; I hope they all come to fruition, because his legacy is worthy of them all and more.
“Colin, if you happen to read this, I love you, and I am deeply blessed to have met you; I cherish our friendship. I know I will see you again.”