One of the best minor hockey coaches Nelson has ever produced, Marshall (Marsh) Severyn, recently died on November 20th in Weatherby Place in White Rock, BC.
Severyn, who coached Nelson to its first-ever BC Bantam title, suffered a stroke as a result of a previous illness and passed away surrounded by family.
Born in Vegreville, AB in 1931, Severyn played junior hockey in Wetaskiwin for the Canadians and in Calgary with the Buffalos before coming to Nelson with his wife Mary Morrison to play for the Nelson Maple Leafs of the Western International Junior Hockey League in 1951.
For 13 years, Severyn was a key cog for the Maple Leafs, helping guide Nelson to the Savage Cup title — emblematic of Senior Hockey supremacy in BC — in 1961.
However, it may have been his start of coaching in 1968-69 that was Severyn’s greatest achievement.
Severyn’s knowledge of the game and his ability to communicate to young, budding, players took the Nelson minor hockey association that continually played second fiddle to rival Trail to West Kootenay crown before the squad captured the Kootenay, Interior and finally, BC, titles.
Trail had held the West Kootenay Bantam title for the previous 23 years and this was Nelson’s first Kootenay crown since 1945-46.
The team included the likes of National Hockey League stars Pat Price and Danny Gare. But there were also other major contributors to the championship, including Captain Dale McMullin, son Marc Severyn, Wayne Naka, Tony Russo, Bob Bachynski, Charlie Hingwing, Alan McLeod, Jim Wolinski and Dave Platt.
Nelson defeated Rossland, Trail, Kimberley, to win the Kootenay crown, Prince George, to claim the Interior title and prestigious North Shore Winter Club, to capture the Doug Grimston Trophy as BC Champs.
Severyn returned to the Senior Leafs as skipper, coaching the Green and White to another Savage Cup in 1971.
An exceptional athlete, Severyn also played baseball that led him to play Senior Baseball in Saskatchewan before attending the camp in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1950. As a pitcher, Severyn was assigned to the Dodger AAA affiliate in El Paso, Texas.
Severyn served with the Nelson Police from 1955-60, then went on to enjoy a 27-year career with BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association), starting out at the Nelson branch, and eventually retiring with the title of Provincial Sales Manager after being transferred to the main office in 1978. His retirement lasted only a year when he became a realtor for the next 13 years in North Delta and Surrey.
Marsh is survived by four sons; Terry of Surrey, BC, Pat (and Donna) of Nelson, BC, John (and Sharon) of Lubbock, Texas, Michael (and Paula) of Surrey BC, grandchildren Ryan, Stephanie, Elysia, Cletus, Marsha, Jamie, April, Madison, Amanda, and 7 great grandchildren. Also survived by four siblings, Leonard of Calgary, AB, Diana of Sherwood Park, AB, Doreen of Innisfree, AB and Melvin of Edmonton, AB.
Marsh was predeceased by his wife of 57 years Mary (Dec 2009) and his son Marc (Nov. 1978).
He was never shy and had a great sense of humour and would take time to talk with everyone. A real gentleman that will be dearly missed.
A Funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate at 813 Ward Street in Nelson on Thursday, November 29th at 10:30 with interment to follow at Nelson Memorial Park Cemetery.
Marsh Severyn (back row, second from right) pictured with the 1960-61 Nelson Maple Leafs Savage Cup Champions.