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With pride and tears, community gathers for Tanner and Rebecca

Shaun Gregory, Huron Expositor

The acoustic guitar blared through the speakers at the Seaforth arena, “Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go,” the lyrics of famous rock band Green Day suited the occasion so well for two young fallen Seaforth citizens.

A picture perfect moment, the music played and the barn welcomed one of its most busiest days of the year with at least 300 people filling the stands, upper level and surrounding the ice.

Emotions grew more and more with each word of the song.

Both families of Tanner Steffler, 19, who died from factors involving an opiate addiction and nine-year-old, Rebecca Kipfer-Pryce’s lost battle of Stage 4 neuroblastoma cancer-- cried in anticipation to see what was behind the large green tarp hanging on the wall near the rafters.

In mid song, the two people holding ropes, unveiled the surprise at the special night titled “Seaforth Stars Dedication Night,” Jan. 27.

This had been a hush-hush type of secret since last October, said speaker of the event and an executive member of Seaforth Minor Hockey, Julie Campbell.

“We wanted word to get out so people knew to save the date, but the actual revealing of the jerseys was a surprise to the families,” she said.

Holding the privilege as the only two jerseys retired in the arena, outshining former born and raised NHLers like Seaforth’s 2002 Stanley Cup champion Boyd Devereaux -- with both their last names--they were posted to the wall high next to the scoreboard.

In memory of the year they passed, the two had the number 17 embroidered across the back as well.

“We decided to retire their jerseys, so their presence is still with us,” stated Campbell.

The night entailed a slew of features including a national anthem performed by local Mary Paige St. Onge, a three-on-three tournament from all age groups of Seaforth Stars, and a Chuck a Duck competition.

In memory of Steffler and Kipfer-Pryce, proceeds of the event were donated to the Tanner Steffler Foundation and the Teresina Larizza Charities Foundation, it worked out to about $2,500 apiece.

The community packed the Seaforth Arena Jan. 27 for the Seaforth Stars Dedication Night, an event honouring Tanner Steffler and Rebecca Kipfer-Pryce with a special three-on-three game between all ages. The two died last year, they were former hockey players of the Stars, and so a special unveiling of their jerseys was the main attraction. Here is the puck drop before the game. (Shaun Gregory/Huron Expositor)

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