Mort Johnston was remembered and honored Friday night, March 31, in a place that was like home to him – the Princeton arena.
Hundreds cheered his name and also shared a moment of silence as Johnston’s former player number, 18, was retired, and his jersey hoisted to the rafters of the building.
Johnston, Posse assistant coach, was killed in a single-vehicle car crash Sunday, March 26.
He was 25.
Prior to the first game of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Teck Cup championships, the Posse and the opposing team, the Kimberley Dynamiters, stood at attention, while general manager Mark McNaughton, along with coach Mark Readman and Posse president Randy McLean, stepped out onto the ice.
McNaughton took the microphone and said the community was there to “celebrate one of the greatest Posse players ever to suit up for our club.”
Johnston was “as a player, everything you want as a teammate and a captain…He stood up for every teammate and made lifelong friends and wore the Posse logo with more pride than anyone could imagine.”
He played for the Posse between 2014 and 2018.
This was his first season on the bench.
“He showed our young men what it means to lead and be loyal and, again, everything it means to wear the Posse jersey.”
Following the death of the lifelong Princeton resident the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League released a statement calling Johnston “a tenacious and energetic player and beloved teammate.”
Johnston also played for the Penticton Silver Bullets men’s senior AA hockey team, which cancelled its entry in the upcoming Coy Cup finals upon hearing of his death.
“We are absolutely devastated,” read a statement. “As soon as possible we will be holding a charity game for anyone that wants to play and will be donating all funds to help cover the expenses his family has amid this difficult time. We love you Mort.”
The Johnston family is accepting donations that will go towards a charity or bursary, to be announced at a future date.
McNaughton said, on Friday, there was more to Mort Johnston than hockey.
“Mort the man was the ultimate friend, the ultimate son, the ultimate brother and the ultimate uncle.”
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m., outdoors at Livinit.
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