Fundraiser for young hockey player’s funeral surpasses $15,000 goal

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A GoFundMe was set up for Eli Palfreyman, the 20-year-old Ayr Centennials captain who collapsed and died in the team locker room between periods of a junior hockey game on Tuesday.

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As of Saturday morning, 290 donations had raised $23,360 of a goal of $15,000 to “help pay for funeral expenses, absences from work to deal with grief and recovery,” according to the GoFundMe page curated by Emmylou McDole of Brantford, Ontario.

“No family is prepared for a funeral for their son, especially at the age of 20,” the page reads.

Palfreyman is described on the GoFundMe page as “a young soul with the most amazing smile.”

“Eli was a wonderful, blue-eyed son to Tammy and Brett, Ella’s brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and teammate who touched the lives of those around him. Everyone who met Eli has a story. He was confident, he had a spark, and he had that smile that anyone who knew Eli will never forget.

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The page also states that Palfreyman died “while playing the game he loved.”

“Eli has dedicated his life to hockey; he was an exceptional hockey player with a passion for the sport. He was a leader among his peers. His perseverance and dedication allowed him to travel throughout the country and in the United States.

Eli Palfreyman, newly appointed captain of the Ayr Centennials juniors, died during an international tournament match on Tuesday August 30, 2022. Photo by handout /Ayr centenarians

In the Words of Support section of the page, Thomas Charbonneau wrote: “Love to the family, the team and the hockey community. Great player with a beautiful heart, breaks mine to see news like this.

Jesse Hutchinson added: “Thinking of his family during this difficult time. Eli was such an amazing guy with a great sense of humor. Always knew how to make anyone laugh. He impacted so many lives and will be missed by many!

Palfreyman collapsed during the first intermission of a match at the Ayr Mutual Global Invitational tournament in the North Dumfries Community Center Hockey Arena and efforts to revive him failed.

Drafted in the 12th round by the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in 2018, at 6-foot-2 and nearly 200 pounds, the Cambridge native was considered a talented power forward with excellent goalscoring touch and leadership skills.

Catherine J. Martinez