MacEwan hockey player died of heart attack, family says

A 23-year old MacEwan University student and hockey player, Nakehko Lamothe, died of cardiac arrest Friday after a hockey game in Calgary, the young man’s family said Sunday.

Nakehko Lamothe, 23, died in hospital following a hockey game in Calgary Friday

Nakehko Lamothe poses with youth from Calling Lake after the MacEwan Griffins won the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships (Supplied by Meah Lamothe)

A 23-year old MacEwan University student and hockey player, Nakehko Lamothe, died of cardiac arrest Friday after a hockey game in Calgary, the young man's family said Sunday.

"He just went into cardiac arrest. His heart just stopped," his younger sister, Meah Lamothe, told CBC News.

"It was completely unexpected. Like we had no idea at all whatsoever," she said. "He's extremely healthy, there wasn't anybody healthier than him."

Nakehko Lamothe was rushed to hospital following a game between the MacEwan Griffins and a team from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)  on Friday. He died just before midnight, MacEwan University said in a press release.

The university didn't say what caused his death.

Meah Lamothe, a 21-year-old student at the University of Alberta, said the family wasn't aware of any pre-existing medical condition. Her brother was extremely healthy and constantly working on his health and fitness, she said.

"He would meditate. He was all aware of his mental health and constantly working on himself, his personal growth and development," she said.

He was a member of the Liidlii Kue First Nation near Fort Simpson, about 600 kilometres west of Yellowknife, N.W.T. He grew up in Calling Lake, Alta., about 200 km north of Edmonton.

Lamothe was in his third year of a Bachelor of Science degree and was interested in environmental science, his sister said. 

She said he loved hockey but would play any sport. 
Nakehko Lamothe was a third-year Bachelor of Science student at MacEwan University. (Meah Lamothe)

"He would play basketball with friends. He would go rollerblading with me."

The university said Lamothe was a key player in getting the team Alberta Colleges Athletic Association titles in 2017 and 2018.

Sadee Lamothe, 19, looked up to his brother for his intensity and dedication. 

"Everything he did was to the fullest extent," Lamothe said.

"Everyone makes mistakes and when he'd make mistakes he would do it with all his heart because that's how he'd do everything, and he would feel so guilty," he said.

"When he would do something good he would do really good. And I think that's why so many people adore him."

Carter Davey, a childhood friend, played hockey with Lamothe when they were young.

"In a lot of aspects, he was just a smart hockey player, and he was tough," Davey said. "Even when we were younger playing together, there wasn't really a lot of fear on his end."

Davey said Lamothe had a kind of signature laugh.

"He just found everything absolutely hilarious. He'd just laugh at everything, and sometimes it was borderline contagious."

Lamothe moved in across the street from Davey in Edmonton when the boys were seven or eight years old. They became fast friends and shared a skateboard. 

"This one really shows who he is," said Meah Lamothe of this photo of her brother Nakehko. (Meah Lamothe)

"We thought we were so good and looking back, we were so, so bad," he laughed. "Every time he'd fall and kind of hurt himself and get back up, it made me not feel like I was afraid to do it."

Meah Lamothe said her brother cared about everybody.

"He would want everybody to live their lives the way that he did, just not drinking or anything, staying sober, meditating, just working so hard to be the best person they can be."

"He was a really good big brother."



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