Kevin Stubbington, the man who created the small stop sign that appears on the back of minor hockey sweaters everywhere, has died.

The former Windsor Minor Hockey Association member designed a small stop sign patch that has been sewn on the backs of minor hockey players for nearly 20 years.

Dean Lapierre was Stubbington's friend for 25 years. He told CBC News Stubbington had complications from shingles and pneumonia.

"I was stunned because I hadn't heard anything about him being sick or anything like this, so of course it was a total shock," Lapierre said. 

Stubbington, of Windsor, Ont., came up with the Safety Towards Other Players Program after seeing a player he was coaching get injured from being checked from behind in 1998.

The idea for a stop sign came while Stubbington was working as a security guard at Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant.

"At first when he brought it to the board we were kind of skeptical, 'How's that going to work? A stop sign on a jersey?' And then he brought all the documentation, the reasoning for it and we said 'Hey, let's try it,'" Lapierre said.

Lapierre is the president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association and was involved with the organization when the idea first came about.

"The OMHA caught wind of it and before you know it, you see them everywhere across North America and other parts of the world," Lapierre said.

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association was first to adopt the program in an effort to raise awareness of checking from behind. The patch was soon mandatory for all minor hockey associations across Canada.

"He wasn't looking to make a profit, he just wanted the word to get out there," Lapierre said. "The big part was when you saw the Olympic teams during their tryouts have them on the back of their jerseys for Team Canada. Then you knew it really hit it big."

In 2007 Stubbington was awarded the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Award. The Award honours Canadians who have made a significant contribution to prevent catastrophic injuries in sports and recreational activities.

"Kevin was a humble man and well-liked by all who knew him," reads a post on the Windsor Minor Hockey Association website. "His contributions to the WMHA and Minor Hockey will not be forgotten."