The Peninsula Panthers junior B hockey club will hold a special ceremony before this Friday’s home game (Jan. 7) to remember Grant Gilbertson, who died in a vehicle crash Monday night on the way to practice with the team. (Christian J. Stewart Photography)

The Peninsula Panthers junior B hockey club will hold a special ceremony before this Friday’s home game (Jan. 7) to remember Grant Gilbertson, who died in a vehicle crash Monday night on the way to practice with the team. (Christian J. Stewart Photography)

Greater Victoria community pulls together for Peninsula Panther No. 26

Online campaign donations, many ending in 26, total nearly $50,000 after one day

A surge in support included words of kindness for the family as an online fundraiser shot past multiple goals in one day for the love of No. 26 – Grant Gilbertson.

“Darcie, Ken & Garrett Our hearts are saddened to learn of your loss, please know we are thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Lowerison & Toupin Family,” one user wrote on the GoFundMe to support the young hockey player’s family.

The 18-year-old Sooke resident and popular hockey player died after a Langford car crash the evening of Jan. 3.

Gilbertson was a top offensive player this season with the Peninsula Panthers hockey club and headed for evening practice in North Saanich when the crash on icy Sooke Road occurred.

RELATED: Greater Victoria hockey community in mourning after Panther player dies in crash

“Sending our deepest condolences to Grant’s family. A tragic loss. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. (signed) The Moody family and teammate Davey,” reads a condolence penned by a member of the close-knit hockey community.

Panthers coach Pete Zubersky told Black Press Media the organization will dedicate the rest of the season to Gilbertson, and name a trophy after him. The team expects to honour the young man during its Friday night game at Panorama Recreation Centre.

“Although we cannot fix what has happened and feel somewhat futile in our gestures and messages, we can help in this small, but needed, way to lessen the difficulties they will be facing with this tragedy,” GoFundMe organizer Emily Lock wrote in the online campaign to support the family. “Let’s all come together and support this family, allowing the entire family time to grieve and heal and shine a little light and warmth back in Grant’s place.”

RELATED: Fundraiser hits $28,500 in 18 hours for mom of hockey player killed in Langford crash

A 2020 Edward Milne Community School grad, Gilbertson scored 16 goals and 25 assists in 38 games with the VIJHL club – wearing jersey No. 26.

The number is reflected repeatedly across the online fundraiser started to support his family, with donors adding $126 or $226 in honour of the young man.

As of one full day online, the total sat at $49,726.


Do you have a story tip? Email: c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca.

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