July 1966 – February 2023
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Gordon Elphicke (Mike or Mikey to his friends) on Friday February 3rd, 2023 at Foothills Hospital in Calgary.
While Mike’s death was very sudden, his struggles with health were known to all and his ten-year battle with kidney disease was both saddening and yet inspiring as Mikey proved to everyone to be one of the strongest, bravest and most determined individuals.
Mike was born on July 31st, 1966 to Bob and Lynda Elphicke. His childhood was spent on their family orchard in Creston, BC. Mike took and early interest in sports, perhaps in part due to his father who was a sports broadcaster. Hockey soon took the focus and Mike’s skills began to excel to a level where he needed more advanced coaching. He attended the famed Athol Murray College of Notre Dame where he played for the Hounds Hockey team with several players who went on to NHL careers. Mike not only found the hockey coaching he sought but the boarding school also helped develop Mike’s character to become a purposeful leader with a strong character and pride that helped define his later life.
After graduating high school, Mike pursued a degree in Journalism from Mount Royal College in Calgary while working different odd jobs to earn money to live independently. One of those odd jobs was pulling a rickshaw during the summer months in Calgary; and it was during one of those summer evenings in 1984 that Mikey had a chance encounter with two other young men – Sean Libin and Randy Krawec – and the three would become lifelong friends and never look back. Mike would dub them the “Hounddoggies” and would include a fourth friend, Chris Walker, into the small group.
Mike was a larger-than-life character and he both enjoyed and excelled at making people laugh and feel good. Often the life of the party, Mike realized one of his joys was to bring people together to celebrate good times. He started to organize the annual Hounddoggie Slo-Pitch Classic which became the largest Slo-Pitch tournament in Calgary and thanks to Mikey, and his exuberance, it became the most entertaining tournament of the year. Teams came from various provinces just to participate in the competition and mostly the party afterward. The tournament raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Calgary Firefighter’s Burn Treatment Fund and that made Mike extraordinarily proud.
Mike set out to build a career as a salesman and he became one of the very best, working for large Fortune 500 corporations selling office equipment and waster management services, to working for smaller companies selling heavy equipment and media advertising. If it could be sold Mike could sell it despite what some would call a less than conventional sales approach. It came down to trust and Mike’s clients trusted him.
In 1996 Mike would meet the love of his life, Tana Ronak, through a chance meeting with a mutual friend. Mike was smitten right away and a month later he proposed. The couple were married later that year and with Tana’s young daughter Danielle, Mike suddenly had a family he loved more than life itself. But their family would soon grow.
One year later the couple welcomed their first son, Daine and their family would grow further 15 months later with Zachary and again two years later with Dylan. Over the next decade, the family would move from Calgary to Vernon and then back to Calgary as Mike put the interest of his children ahead of his own.
His family would eventually grow even wider with the marriage of Danielle to Steven and the birth of their daughters Emilee and Penelope; and the marriage of Zac to Mikayla who recently gave birth to Aries. Mike loved being a Grandpa to his three grandchildren.
In 2012 Mike was diagnosed with kidney disease which would require dialysis treatments every three days. What should have been a temporary treatment to allow him time to find a donor kidney became a 10-year battle. The battle was made more difficult with the onset of diabetes, an amputation and a business deal gone sideways. But Mike persevered and never gave up. He tackled every battle head on with a gritty determination that is not easily put into words — although Mike had a few colorful words that he wasn’t shy to use to describe his ongoing ordeal.
In recent years Mike embarked on several of his own business projects including large scale event production. Mike was a visionary, always dreaming up the next big idea. His most recent project was assisting his dear friends Randy and Michelle with the creation of their indoor hockey training and entertainment facility called Overtime Hockey Lanes.
Mike was a very knowledgeable student of the game of hockey and in 1990, alongside Rob Ohs, helped create the Parksville Generals as an expansion team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. With an almost photographic memory, Mike could recite statistics at will and he spent several years as an associate NHL player agent working with several NHL players including Dustin Brown, former team captain of the Los Angeles Kings.
Mike also loved football and was a lifelong fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was recently recognized and honored by the NFL team as their “longest known fan in Canada”. Seeing his beloved Buccs finally win the Super Bowl in 2021 was a special day.
Mike was predeceased by his father Bob Elphicke. He is survived by his mother Lynda Moore; his sister Christy Baker (Brian), his half sisters Bobby Anne Peckford and CJ Lynn McArthur; his wife Tana; his children Danielle Lauzon (Steven), Daine, (Christine), Zachary (Mikayla) and Dylan; his grandchildren Emilee, Penelope and Aries; as well as loving uncles, aunts and cousins.