When former NHL defenseman Steve Montador passed away in February, the entire NHL community was left in shock as the 35-year old passed away of what the police deemed to be “natural causes”. Now, just under two months after the man who was known for his charity work off the ice will be remembered forever thanks in part to a former team.
The Buffalo Sabres announced on Thursday afternoon that the team will help in the launching of a scholarship fun in name of Montador. Known as the Steve Montador “Dream Big” Scholarship Fund, the effort has been started with a $10,000 donation from the Sabres organization, the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, a number of current players as well as the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association.
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“Dream Big” was a phrase that Montador would often put alongside autographs he would sign for fans. He was never shy to admit that he was one of those players who, despite not being a very touted player coming up, would dream about being in the biggest league in the hockey world, the NHL. He played nine years in the league after being undrafted out of Vancouver, and was a big part of the Calgary Flames’ Stanley Cup Finals run in 2004.
“This fund is the exact way Steve would want to be remembered, as a way to support people and inspire them to achieve their dreams,” Paul Montador, Steve’s father, said via the Buffalo Sabres press release. “I am very grateful that the Sabres have gotten the ball rolling in terms of fundraising and we know this is just the beginning of a tremendous program that will honor Steve’s legacy by helping others.”
No matter the city he played in, Montador made sure to get involved with any charity organization he could as his way to give back to those who needed it the most. His generosity was even felt on the other side of the planet when he traveled to Africa as part of the Right To Play movement, which is an organization that uses the “power of play” to help children overcome poverty and poor health.
The overall direction of the scholarship fund will be overseen by a board of directors that includes Montador’s father. More details regarding how the scholarship fund will be distributed and its mission statement will be announced in the near future. Those looking to help donate to the fund can do so at Sabres.com/dreambig.
Montador dared to “dream big”, and it led him to a career in the NHL. Now, thanks to Sabres, more and more young people will be able to live out their dreams in the memory of an all-around great person.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.