By Don Liesemer

    The Hockey Ministries International team was saddened this week to hear of the passing of David Forbes. We extend our sincerest condolences and heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Lorra Beth his loving wife, their dear children, Matthew, Anna, Emily and Jonathan and precious grandchildren who mourn the loss a caring husband, father, and grandfather.  “Lord, be near to the broken hearted.”

    Having personally received Christ’s free gift of salvation made possible by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and glorious resurrection, David was born again to a living hope. We are assured that he is in the glorious presence of his Saviour in heaven.

    David and I first met as teen agers at the church we both attended in Montreal…Westmount Baptist. That’s many years ago. Along with our treasured friendship, I will always be thankful for the major role David played in founding and establishing the ministry of HMI. In July of 1977, David a member of the Boston Bruins joined Doug Jarvis then with the Canadiens, and 4 Alouette football players, Pat Bonnett, Wally Buono, Chuck McMann and Don Sweet and a team of counsellors and staff in launching our first ever Christian Athlete Hockey Camp in Montreal.

    In weeks leading up to the camp with enrolment numbers low, David repeatedly and optimistically would say: “No matter how many players we have we will make it the best week of their lives”. And so, it was. Fun, joy, enthusiasm enveloped the camp during training on and off the ice, sharing of Christ in evening chapels and in small Bible studies. On the final day when the last players stepped off the ice and headed home, we all knew that something very special had taken place. God had visited us and yes, no matter what, there will have to be many more camps like this. And there have been for some 47 years across North America and into Europe. 

    Despite the great week, my wife, Jeanie and myself anxiously wondered what the Lord had in store for us. In the spring of 1977, I had resigned from my teaching position as we felt called into full time ministry to reach the hockey world. In August of 1977 our friend, Forbie, came alongside and joined us in praying at our house every night for two weeks just prior to his heading back to training camp with the Bruins. It was on the last night of our prayer times that the plan for HMI and Christian Athlete Hockey Camps came into focus. God answered our prayers. We were so thankful.

    David served as a member of the HMI board of Directors, participated in camps, organized the first ever pro hockey Chapel service with his team in Cincinnati and in 1979 initiated a meeting with Brian O’Neill, executive Vice-President of the NHL. The meeting attended by Brian, David, Doug Jarvis and myself resulted in the establishment of the Chapel program for NHL teams. As well in these last years served as a committed Christian leader in ministering to former professional players through the HMI Pro Alumni Chapel program.

    David was deeply devoted to serving the Lord. He walked closely with Jesus. Loved his wife and family and was a guiding light to all who knew him. To God be the glory. We will miss him greatly.