The memory of former Okanagan Sun running back Jeff Halvorson will be honoured this season as the B.C. Football Conference team brings his No. 34 jersey back into circulation.
A Sun player will be allowed to wear the jersey each season under the following conditions:
“The No. 34 Okanagan Sun jersey may only be worn by a Sun captain to exemplify the standards of leadership and dedication to football and teammates.”
Before his untimely death during a Sun practice on Sept. 9, 2004 the Grande Prairie Composite High School grad was well on his way to shattering the Canadian Junior Football League rushing record. Just hours before his death he was named the CJFL offensive player of the week for his efforts in the previous Saturday’s game.
Following Jeff’s passing, the number No. 34 was taken out of circulation by the club. Halvorson’s road white jersey still sits framed in the Sun clubhouse while his parents have the same framed home brown version.
His father, Don, suggested not retiring the jersey when it was discussed in 2004 as his son wore the number because he was a fan of Walter Payton. It was also the high school number worn by his older brother Jason where the siblings grew up in Grande Prairie.
Don felt that had the number 34 already been retired by the club before Jeff had arrived he would never have been worn a number that was important to him.
The Okanagan Sun has decided to bring No. 34 back into circulation in 2013 but also honour the last player to wear it.
Jeff Halvorson was a team captain while he played for the Okanagan Sun. His leadership on and off the field exemplified what a player would hope for in a teammate.
The No. 34 jersey will continue for the Okanagan Sun in his spirit and others like him.