Students and members of Winnipeg's basketball community are mourning the loss of a teacher and longtime coach.

Dale Swirsky was a tutor and high school teacher and coached many levels of basketball in the city over the last 20 years, including with the Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association in River Heights, with the Winnipeg Fury and at St. Mary's Academy and Grant Park High School.

Swirsky was most recently assisting the under-17 female Canada Games team with filming and stats analysis. He suffered a heart attack on a recent team trip to Regina and died Sunday at the age of 46.

"He definitely showed his passion for basketball and that's probably what we're going to definitely miss. And we need a thousand more guys like that, men and women out there to be like that. So to lose one at such a young age is heartbreaking," said Adam Wedlake, head of Basketball Manitoba.

"If there was ever a team out there that needed a guy to coach or needed a parent or anybody to step up, he was always first in line — loved the game."

The under-17 girls basketball team will wear Swirsky's initials on their jerseys at the Canada Games. Swirsky's daughter is a member of the team, Wedlake wrote in a message posted on the Basketball Manitoba website.

People who would like to make a donation in Swirsky's name can contribute to Habitat for Humanity or Plan Canada, Wedlake said.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Dale Swirsky died on Saturday, July 1. In fact, the date was Sunday, July 2.
    Jul 07, 2017 3:57 PM CT