Calgary rugby player reported to be among those killed in B.C. mudslide

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A Calgary father killed in a mudslide in British Columbia this week is described by his friends as a passionate family man and active member of the city’s rugby community.

Steven Taylor’s former rugby team, Calgary Irish Rugby Club, released a statement on Saturday on social media that said he was killed in a fatal mudslide on Highway 99, south of Lillooet, B.C., on Nov. 15.

B.C. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a written statement on Saturday that four people had been found dead and one is still missing.

Catastrophic flooding and landslides across the southern half of B.C. were caused, in part, by extreme rain last weekend.

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Dean Hopkins met Taylor in Calgary 12 years ago through the rugby club.

“Steve was a man who was larger than life itself, an active member of the rugby fraternity within Calgary and the province. He lived and breathed rugby and sport. That was his passion,” Hopkins said.

Taylor, pictured, was described by friends as a passionate rugby player. He worked in construction and relocated with his wife to B.C. a year ago, after the COVID-19 pandemic began. (Submitted by Dean Hopkins)

“He was a huge family man, but he would do anything for anyone.”

Taylor, who friends say has three children and one grandchild, relocated to Vancouver with his wife a year ago. Hopkins said Taylor worked in construction and had moved to B.C. after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“He was out at a camp north of Vancouver and doing some work, and because of inclement weather, they closed the job down,” Hopkins said, which is when Taylor started driving home.

“Steve was one of the people there who was out and probably trying to find out what was going on when the mudslide hit.”

Reece Coad, who played rugby with Taylor at Calgary Knights RFC, said Taylor was like a father to him.

“When he stepped onto a rugby pitch, he was the most intense human being out there. He was scary to play against,” Coad said. “Very few people that take the game that seriously.”

But despite Taylor’s tough game play, Coad said, he wasn’t like that off the field.

“He was very harsh on tough love, but a big softie on the inside — hard on the outside, soft on the inside.”

‘Steve was a man who was larger than life itself,’ Hopkins said of Taylor. ‘He was a huge family man, but he would do anything for anyone.’ (Submitted by Dean Hopkins)

In her statement on Saturday, Lapointe said that over the past five days, her office worked with law enforcement and search-and-rescue professionals to try to locate people who were reported missing after the mudslide at Duffy Lake.

“I also extend my heartfelt condolences to the families who are now grieving the sudden and unexpected death of their loved one, and to the family of the missing person we have so far been unable to locate,” she said.

“This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us in B.C., and my heart goes out to the many families and communities who have suffered tragic losses. At the B.C. Coroners Service, we will continue to do our best to determine the facts of these tragedies for the public record and, where possible, make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.”

A spokesperson for the coroner’s office said in an email to CBC News that under the Coroners Act and due to privacy considerations, it does not release or confirm information related to the identity of the deceased.

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