The Penticton Silver Bullets men’s senior AA hockey team has decided not to participate in the Quesnel-hosted Coy Cup finals, following the sudden death of one of their players – 25-year-old Morton Johnston.
Johnston was the assistant coach with his hometown Princeton Posse and a forward on the Silver Bullets team.
The Princeton-born player was killed in a car crash Sunday, March 26, off Old Hedley Road near Princeton, according to RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes, just days before Penticton was set to play for BC Hockey’s Coy Cup.
“On Sunday we lost a beloved teammate, brother, son, and uncle, Morton Johnston. We are absolutely devastated, and will not be attending the Coy Cup this year out of respect for Mort and his family,” said a statement released by the Silver Bullets.
“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.”
Penticton withdrew from the tournament on March 27.
Fellow independent team and host of the 2023 Coy Cup, the Quesnel Kangaroos, announced the Silver Bullets’ withdrawal from the tournament on Monday afternoon.
“We send our deepest condolences to his family, his team, and everyone else feeling this loss,” Quesnel said on Facebook.
The Silver Bullets started up again in October 2022 after disbanding in 1994.
They qualified for the Coy Cup tournament on March 11, after emerging victorious in a three-team division alongside the Rossland Warriors and Powell River Regals.
The Posse played Game Six in honour of Johnston, defeating the Revelstoke Grizzlies 2-1 to advance to the Teck Cup Finals.
He played parts of four seasons for Princeton before becoming an assistant coach prior to the 2022-23 season.