The PennWest California community came together Oct. 20 to remember Branson King with a dedication of a memorial bench in King’s honor.
King, 23, passed away suddenly last December. King was an assistant captain of the Vulcans Hockey Club, and a key member of the Cal community.
Thursday morning, California Campus Administrator and Vice President for University Development Tony Mauro dedicated the bench in King’s honor. The bench depicts King hoisting the CHE East Championship belt with the quote “aspire to be more, not to have more.”
Branson was the heart and soul of the team; he approached hockey like everything in his life with passion and 100% commitment,” Vulcans head coach Jason Greenway said in December. “He was a true leader who was selfless and would sacrifice anything he had to do for our team's success. He epitomized our team culture with passion, hard work, and a huge heart; he was a coach’s dream.”
Greenway, along with Mauro, Vulcans Men’s Hockey Team President Jared Taylor and brother Austin King, spoke during the bench dedication.
Austin King spoke about the loss of his brother, noting that his perspective has changed since the passing of Branson.
“Today, I come to you knowing this is one of the greatest tragedies of my life. But it’s also been the biggest blessing,” he said. “Sounds crazy, but now I carry him right here (in my heart) every day. He had so many gifts to give.
“Please carry those gifts with you. I promise it will make it a great day.”
A memorial game for King against Pitt-Johnstown Thursday will include the presentation of King’s posthumous degree to parents David and Kathy King.
Former Penguins winger Kevin Stevens, who has been on campus as part of a presentation this week, attended the dedication of King’s bench. He said that the community aspects of hockey were present in during the ceremony.
“It’s hard to explain to people how close-knit a hockey team can be,” Stevens said. “You know each other, you hang out with each other, you grow together as people. So, to lose a friend, a teammate, in such a sudden and tragic way.”
“To see this campus, which is so beautiful, come together in the wake of such a tragedy to honor someone who passed, is part of the healing,” Stevens added.” And to see how Branson’s teammates all came together, it just shows who he was as a person and a teammate. He most certainly be missed by the Cal community.”