A beloved hockey coach is being remembered by his players and loved ones after he died suddenly, while on a trip with his team.

Ryan Crowther was in Chicago earlier this month with the Minor Midget North Central Predators. He helped coach the team’s blue line, but before the team could return home, tragedy struck.

Crowther passed away at the age of 37. He leaves behind his wife and two daughters.

“A players' coach so the boys liked to ask him about the old stories. Ryan played professionally,” says Jeff Roe, the team’s head coach.

Crowther joined the minor midgets three months ago, but his love of the game extended far beyond that. He was an enforcer in the OHL and played in the minor pros.

“When Ryan called me saying he wanted to get involved in coaching hockey this year, I said we'll find a spot for you and it worked out great,” team president Roger Crandell says.

Crowther played the game the old school way, but as a coach he taught his players to approach it with respect and safety.

“The main thing he taught us was we had to play for each other and we have to love the sport we're in,” says defenceman Eric Moreau. “To realize not everybody is in the position like us and there are less fortunate people and don’t get to experience this.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. So far $63,000 has been raised.

The Predators will play their first home game since Crowther’s passing on Nov. 30 at the Rama Mask Arena. The team is asking all members of the community to come together to honour Crowther's memory with his family at centre ice for a special ceremony.

“He was one of our brothers… he was awesome. I saw him as more of a friend than a coach, but I think that's what made him a really great coach for our team.”