The jersey of late peewee hockey player, Coleton Nelson, will be retired. The decision made last Wednesday by Aldergrove’s Minor Hockey Association.
Brenda and Wayne Nelson lost Coleton, their 12-year-old son, to a car accident on Feb. 18, 2011.
On the fifth anniversary of the accident, their daughter Chrystie also lost her 19-month-old son Ryker Mcclurg.
The motion to preserve the number 10 jersey was brought forth by board member Lindsay Thorley.
“I know Brenda has been down and feeling Coleton has been forgotten, and in my last year on the board I vowed to not let that happen,” Thorley explained.
Unanimous support arose from board members during the meeting, she said.
READ MORE: Aldergrove remembers Coleton Nelson
The dedication means Coleton’s choice jersey number since he was six (#10) will remain unclaimable to those in the peewee division.
Thorley also plans to organize a jersey retirement ceremony in which she hopes to include Coleton’s teammates, family, friends, and past recipients of the Coleton Nelson Love of the Game award and scholarship.
“I want him to live on through all who knew him and through those just getting to know who he was,” his mother Brenda told the Aldergrove Star.
The mother initially asked the hockey association to retire Coleton’s jersey just after his passing, but was initially told “no” due to financial reasons, she recounted.
Though the old community arena hung his jersey, his number had not been retired, Thorley confirmed.
A letter recently sent to the association by Oliver Crossman, a recipient of the Coleton Nelson memorial scholarship, reignited a push for the preservation of the jersey number.
“Coleton shouldn’t be forgotten. He loved the game just as I do, and I think that he should be a part of our association forever,” Crossman wrote.
“This sweet boy had never met my son,” Brenda expressed.
After hearing Coleton’s jersey will finally be retired, Brenda admitted that even though several years have passed, it “means the world to [the family] now that it’s being done.”
The old Aldergrove Community Arena was Coleton’s “home away from home” since the age of five when he first stepped out on the ice to skate, Mom said.
“It’s bittersweet,” Brenda said about the decision – because her hockey-loving boy “isn’t here to wear his jersey.”
Coleton would have been 21 this year.
Thorley is in talks with the Langley Township about re-hanging his jersey as soon as wall space becomes available at the new Aldergrove rink.
Thorley hopes to see the re-hanging and retirement ceremony happen before the start of next hockey season in late August.
A namesake tournament in honour of the Coleton has become an Aldergrove hockey fixture each fall.
The Coleton Nelson Memorial Tournament is held yearly in conjunction with a Christmas charity hampers drive to help local families in need.
“If not for the loss of Coleton, and now Ryker, we would have never have helped more than 60 families through the last seven years,” the mother said.