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Lee, Joel

LEE, Joel

1970 - 2022

It is with deep sorrow that we publicly announce the passing of Joel Lee who is survived by his wife Sarah and his daughters Ashley and Rachel.

There are few words to express the deep pain we feel as we mourn the passing of our dear Joel after a long battle against Cancer, where he fought admirable and bravely and made us all proud. Joel was first to laugh, adept in numerous different disciples (if you’d have asked him, he’d say he was the best at everything) and he tended to make a lasting impression on all those he met. He continuously strived to inspire and overcome, in coaching as well as his many careers. Joel spent his life bringing joy into others, and there is nothing he loved more than filling a space with smiles and laughter. We will be planning a celebration of life in his honour to be announced at a later date where we will focus on commemorating Joel and recognize the man who gave so much to all of our lives.

The world has lost a wonderfully caring husband, dedicated father, remarkable friend and so much more. We’ll never be the same without Joel in our lives but we’ll be forever pushed forward and guided nonetheless by him.

The visitation will be February 11th from 6:30pm-8:30pm and the funeral will be February 12th at 12:00pm. Both events will be held at the Stake Center, 6255 Cumorah Drive, Orleans, ON. We are accepting floral donations, if that’s something you are looking into please reach out to Sarah Lee.

We have attached a google form which outlines the different ways you can be present, please rsvp as soon as possible as we have to make arrangements to follow public health's guidelines.

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25 messages received

joel lee

mr lee has been my second father figure throughout my 17 years of living, and in great sorrow about his passing. He brought so much light to my life and many others, he always found a way to make me laugh even if I was so low. He will never escape my mind and memories we had together. He will always live along side me from above watching and making everyone smile in the littlest signs. it’s hard losing a friend, especially when he was apart of my family. fly high joel you’ll never be forgotten.

Emily Ellis, February 1, 2022

Joel's Family

My sincere condolences to Sara, the girls, and Joel's family and friends. It was a privilege to know Joel. He will be missed, but never forgotten. Rest easy bro.

Tyler Filion, February 1, 2022

Joel’s Family

Our sincere condolences to Sarah, Ashley, Rachel and Joel’s family.
Joel was an amazing man and will be missed by so many he touched.
It was a privilege to know him!
RIP Joel

Troy & Tracy Kehoe

Troy Kehoe, February 1, 2022

Sarah, Ashley and Rachel,

So very sad to hear about Joel, your Soul Mate Sarah , and your Dad , Ashley and Rachel , there are no words that can convey or alleviate the sadness and loss. I just want you to know, that he is in good hands, free of pain, and forever free. Sending our Prayers and Love, ❤❤❤

Celine (Ellis) Petrachuk , February 1, 2022

Sarah, Rachel and Ashely, Our family we Share so much with ❤

I posted a shout to my bud hours before he past, In hopes I'd see him, because it's been so hard to be away! Your Dad, your husband, my brother, is a real life super hero, if we all lived like him we would never die, because we would legends past our time on this earth. I know most of his impact that everyone he ever connected with or experienced him, making them laugh, learning all he could by extracting the positive while making us feel great with his genuine love and respect! Using all of the great things he knew and experienced affecting us as an icon a leader and a selfless magnet that we were attracted to. I don't think I have enough room here to express what he and his family meant to us, how many parallels our life had, how naturally fast we became mates, he fueled my confidence as a true leader would, as I did to him! What came from it was a tornado of accomplishments, I am as my family is indebt, an blessed by him. His struggle through this demon, solidifies his adversity. He has affected may lives, but mine, I'll never forget, he only passes if we dont keep him alive. I've never been affected by a loss like this! Sarah, Rachel, Ashley, Joel was a force, who's life was dedicated to you always with love and pride, I know he will be where ever you go in your hearts! I miss him so much my heart hurts, if we learn from his example to eat up life with love friendship and positivity, live everyday like this then the world would a better place! His footprint is huge in his wake! I love and miss him like I can't explain! We are all richer for having him even for too short a time. Sorry for going on but his bond with me changed my life! My heart felt to his girls, I wished I could have hugged him one more time and tell him I loved him, but I believe he said good bye to me, another story! Good bye friend, but I know you are all around us!
Love Him!

" I has this dream where I relished the fray...."
Love Bart
Carol Ann, Jadyn Brenyn and Dylan xxoo

Barto, February 2, 2022


I cannot believe it and the world indeed has lost a wonderful person. I played hockey with Joel as one of his goalies in his hockey league at the University of Ottawa and he was a class act. We always had a good laugh over a beer after our hockey games. My heartfelt sympathies go out to you, your daughters and the rest of your family.

Rob St-Germain, February 2, 2022

Joel's family

I played hockey with Joel. He was always very kind in helping to find a spot for me to play when I was in Ottawa visiting. I didn't know Joel very well but he was always welcoming and we enjoyed a few laughs over the years, on and off the ice.

I was deeply saddened to learn (only recently) that Joel was sick. We lost a passionate player and a good friend to many.

My sincere condolences to the entire family, and to his friends, on and off the ice.

Peter Nesbitt, February 2, 2022

Uncle Joel

While I never got to meet my uncle Joel in person, my mother often talked about their childhood and I had a few conversations with him over Facebook. Rest In Peace uncle Joel. My mom(your sister) loved you very very much. I wish I had gotten the chance to meet you.

Eliza Northcott , February 3, 2022

Joel's Family

I got to know Joel through hockey, and even though I only saw him a few times a week he was always in good spirits and loving life. He always wanted to bring people together and share great times. My sincere condolences to his entire family and friends for the loss of such a pleasant person.

Rest easy, Joel

Gino, February 3, 2022

The Lee Family

My deepest sympathies to the Lee family. Joel was a co-worker and friend. He always brightened my day with his daily visits to my office for chats about music and travel adventures. I'm so sorry for your loss. God bless.

Robert J, February 3, 2022

The Lee Family

My sincere condolences to Joel's family and friends.
I had the pleasure of meeting Joel through work and hockey and consider it a privilege to have known him.
Anyone who has had the good fortune of meeting Joel knows he lives on in each of us.
Our prayers and thoughts are with Joel and his Family in this most difficult time.
God bless, stay strong.

Bruce Gilbert, February 3, 2022

Joel's Family

My most sincere condolences to Sarah, Ashley and Rachel and to the rest of Joel's family. As you will see from the many messages which will reach you from all sorts of people like me you have never met, Joel was much loved and had a special way of making an impact on others. I can tell you that Joel was that special. I had the opportunity to share the ice with him for (probably) 15 years, maybe more where his friendship, sportsmanship and competitiveness made him one of a kind. I will miss his messages to the hockey boys " know who you are", his encouragement on the bench "ok boys let's get going here..." and how he always gravitated towards equality and fairness regardless of the context. Safety of others was always primordial with him and he always made sure to be inclusive and open regardless of whether you were a seasoned player or not. I am grateful to have known him for the short while I did and to have shared coaching and hockey stories with him. I can only trust that he is now in a better place. It was a privilege. RIP Joel.

Philippe Doyle, February 3, 2022


I'm so sorry for your loss. Joel was a great guy. I remember how excited he was when Collective Soul came to Ottawa back in '98 or '99. He wanted to camp out for tickets. So I picked him up in my truck the night before the tickets went on sale. It was a cold night. We parked outside the Walmart on Merivale Road (the TicketMaster counter was inside and they opened the ticket counter at 9am). We drank coffee and ate timbits waiting for the rest of the crowd to show up. Each time a car pulled into the lot that night, we got ready to take our place at the door. Those cars - there might have been 3 or 4 - were all heading for the Timmies drive thru. The Walmart employees started showing up around 7:30am to open the store at 8. We walked in at 8 and wandered around in Walmart keeping half an eye on the ticket counter. It was a ghost town until about 8:50. From one minute to the next, there were 10 people lined up. We joined the queue. The people in front of us were buying tickets to Disney On Ice. We had a few laughs about that night over the years. Joel was always happy and looking on the bright side. Always good for a laugh. He brought a lot of joy to a big group of hockey players looking for a friendly(ish) game. He'll be sorely missed.

Rest in peace bud. Keep your stick on the ice.

Trevor K-J, February 3, 2022

His family and friends

My heart is broken for you all and I want to pass on my deepest condolences. Taken way to soon. I only have fond memories of Joel and I cherish those moments that we got to make music when we did.

Noah Adams , February 3, 2022

The Lee Family

I am so very sorry to hear of Joel's passing. My heart goes out to his wife & daughters, my dear friend Keran and the rest of his loving family. My sincere condolences.

April Wall, February 4, 2022

Joel's Family

Joel was a very special guy - his enthusiasm for life was inspiring, he was strong and driven, but always there to support you when you needed it. I was introduced to him through hockey at Ottawa U, and over the years I've always looked forward to our next game together.

In his memory, I've made donations to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart program and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, because kids sports + health is a combination of passions that I think he'd get behind.

David Bingham, February 4, 2022

Family Lee

Please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Sylvie, Jocelyn and Jeremy Roy (Nicolas' family), February 5, 2022

Sarah, Ashley and Rachel

Our hearts go out to you in your time of sorrow. Joel will always be remembered to us as a wonderful hockey coach and someone who always brought so much fun and laughter into our lives.

Dave, Sherri and Abbey Blanchard

Sherri Blanchard, February 5, 2022

Joel's Family

My deepest sympathies to the entire Lee family.

I knew Joel Lee to be an energetic, positive and passionate person. A person of true character who had a genuine love for life and those around him. I was proud to call him my friend.
For me, Joel always seemed to want to do good for people. He genuinely cared about you. He brought so many people together through all the activities and interests he was so passionately committed to. People who would never have met otherwise. I have so many new friends and acquaintances because of Joel. I am grateful to him for that.
Joel loved hanging with the boys at the rink and there was always a good laugh to be had. I will always cherish those memories.
I will most certainly remember all the good times but I will never forget the day Joel gathered the Thursday night crew together to let us all know what was happening with his health . The news was bleak and difficult to hear but in true Joel Lee fashion and despite everything he knew he would face, he thought of others and wanted to be sure to take the time to tell us all how much he enjoyed being altogether. He wasn’t going to give in. Joel was a fighter and courageously battled with everything he had. Joel’s courageous battle was inspiring. There were many times I was in awe with how he continued to go about everyday life with such a positive outlook despite all the roadblocks and setbacks along the way. One time in warm-up I asked him how he did it? Where do you find the strength? He replied “you know Markie, when you’ve looked over your shoulder for as long as I have, you quickly realize that life is for the living. Every new day is a bonus”. Profound words spoken at a pickup hockey game. Make the most of now.
Love you brother.
You will be missed.

Marc Sorel, February 6, 2022

Joel's family

My deepest condolences for your loss. I was a work colleague of Joel's for a period of time and his presence on our ILS project has been instrumental to many of his coworkers. When I learned of his affliction with cancer, I was terribly dismayed. His constant professionalism and humor at the work place will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family.

Dan Levesque, February 7, 2022

All who put up with him

First time I met Joel, Shawn Parent brought me out to play a game with the Nuvo hockey team. I hadn't played in about 6 years and after the game Joel's first ever words to me were, " played junior?". Apparently our mutual friend had over hyped me and I thought to myself, who's this **. A few weeks later Joel started a morning hockey game, got me to come out, explained to me there was no rough stuff...then body checked me my first shift on the ice. Geordie Anderson insisted Joel was a good guy, got us out for wobbly pops and soon I thought to myself, I think I made a friend for life...way to short brother, love you.

Jarvo, February 7, 2022

The Lee Family

It is with great sadness that I learned about Joel’s passing and really a profound sense of disbelief. As many have mentioned, he was such a fighter and a real can do kind of guy.
I met him when we were learning to play hockey some 20 plus years ago and luckily I said yes when he organize the first of many regular pick up times. It was great fun and I met so many excellent people through his effort. And seeing Joel and experiencing his energy was all just a bonus part of the package.
We also had fun because we were both ringette coaches and our daughters played many games against each other - Ashley with GCRA and my daughter with City of Ottawa. Used to drive the hockey guys crazy when we would get caught up on ringette in the dressing room.
We also swapped notes for years about the trials and tribulations of cottaging and all the things you needed to do from the fun - using a chainsaw - to the annoying - friggin snow removal !
A super awesome guy who will be missed by many in the community,
my sincerest condolences to family and friends on your loss.

Don Grant, February 9, 2022

Sarah, Ashley, and Rachel

Sarah, Ashley, and Rachel – first let me offer my deepest condolences.

The best way for me to honour Joel is to share some memories.

The first word I would use to describe Joel is “determination”. I first met Joel back in the late 1990s, when we were both working at Nuvo. We formed a Nuvo hockey team and played hockey every week. Joel then decided that he wanted to form his own hockey team and join a local men’s league. We started then playing even more hockey. I then remember Joel saying, “I have formed my own team, but wouldn't it be awesome if I had my own league". I was amused at the idea, wondering how that would ever take off. Well, when Joel puts his mind to something, it happens. He started his own league called “Hockey Instinct”, which later was renamed to "Sports Instinct", as he had plans to evolve the brand into a sports store, and he wanted it to be associated to various sports, not just hockey. The Sports Instinct brand grew, and before long there was morning hockey and evening hockey. I remember showing up one morning and receiving a blue towel as part of my morning hockey registration, with a Sports Instinct logo on the towel. Then Joel started bringing orange juice for everyone, to enjoy after the morning game. He thought of all the little things to differentiate his hockey league and his brand.

Before long, there were hundreds of people across Ottawa playing “Joel Lee Hockey”. Over the years I would run into people that knew Joel, just through playing in his hockey league. I remember being at University of Ottawa many years later, in the parking garage at the athletics complex, chuckling as I walked past rows and rows of cars, all with a bright yellow “Joel Lee Hockey” parking pass hanging from their rear view mirrors. It was amazing. He had built a hockey empire in Ottawa. Anyone who played men’s league hockey in Ottawa knew Joel Lee. Such incredible determination.
Joel was also determined when it came to projects. He built the most solid roof ever over a trailer, and then proceeded to show pictures of it to every single person he knew. When he built something, he was proud of it. Even through the middle of cancer treatments, Joel built a big deck at home and at the lake. He never stopped talking about his big deck. He also built the stairs at the lake, all while battling cancer. I don’t know many people that have that kind of determination.

Another example of determination was Joel's approach to beating his cancer. When he first found out about the cancer in his eye, his attitude wasn't about IF he could get rid of it, it was how and how long. He was always positive about beating cancer. If he got a prognosis he didn't like from a doctor, he would get a second opinion from another doctor. If he didn't think a treatment was working, he would demand other treatments. It was his strong determination that led him to outlive any projections given to him.

The next word I would use to describe Joel is “selfless”. He went out of his way every day for others. He ensured that his hockey leagues were inclusive to everyone, regardless of age, gender, or talent level. He ensured everything was always fair. One example of Joel's selflessness was on our team known as the Roosters. One year, Joel decided to make custom trophy awards for the team. He spent time to make real trophies, cutting blocks of wood for the base, and mounting something unique and custom on top. One trophy that I won, which Joel called the "Hands of Gold", was a custom wood base, with a section of a hockey stick mounted at an angle. Attached to the hockey stick were a small pair of real hockey gloves. He then spray painted the whole trophy and gloves in a gold colour. It must have taken him hours and hours to make these many different trophies, personalized for each winner on the team. What an amazing and selfless gesture, just for a bunch of guys he plays men’s league hockey with. Joel also gave everyone on the team nicknames, which he had printed as our names on the back of our jerseys. His was "Bullet".
The next word (words actually) that I would use to describe Joel is "center of attention". Joel didn't have a shy bone in his body. He was the kind of person that could make you feel instantly at ease. Joel would walk into a hockey dressing room and would say hi to every single person in there, usually with whatever nickname he came up with for you. The room just lit up when Joel arrived. He knew everyone. He would crack a quick joke and get an entire room laughing.

If there were people to lead, Joel would lead them. If there was something to organize, Joel would organize it. If there was someone to coach, Joel would coach them. If there was someone to manage, Joel would manage them. If someone needed help, Joel would help them. If there was an opportunity to gather friends, or a trip to take somewhere, Joel would be the one planning it. If there was camping to be done, he would be the one reserving it. And last but not least, if there was a microphone, Joel would be singing into it.
Which brings me to Varsleefest or VLF. Joel and Sarah put on the most legendary summer gatherings. Joel would be up there on stage singing songs from the Tragically Hip or his other favourite band Collective Soul. If there's a picture of the legendary Joel Lee in my mind, it is this: picture Joel up on stage at VLF, on a warm summer night, fog machine blowing in front of him, crowd cheering, shades on, sporting a custom grown beard, wearing a straw hat, and belting out the Tragically Hip's Nautical Disaster at the top of his lungs. To me, that is the quintessential picture of Joel, in his happy place. Completely in his element. So many people had so much fun over the years at VLF. So many great memories.

Another word (or words, again) to describe Joel is “sense of humour”. Everyone has so many stories about Joel and his sense of humour. Many stories that I cannot repeat here.
The last word I would use to describe Joel is “loving”. Joel had a deep love for Sarah, and for his daughters Ashley and Rachel. He was always so proud of his girls and would broadcast that pride on a daily basis. Every time I saw Joel, he would come over and hold his phone up, and show a video of one of the girls scoring a highlight reel goal in either hockey or ringette. And after he showed it at least a couple of times, he would say “Did you see that? Did you see the move she did there? Let me rewind it. We are going watch that again!”

After playing hockey, the guys would meet up for a post-game beverage. While some guys would talk about the pressures of life, or perhaps talk about some problems at work, or some problems at home with their significant others, Joel never ever did. Sarah – he loved you dearly – and he was not afraid to tell the world. While other people might be complaining, I remember Joel specifically saying (and I quote) "I love Sarah, and I love hanging out with Sarah". I remember him saying exactly this. When you weren't there, he talked about you - and it was always positive. He talked about how lucky he was to have you. Your bond was strong.
It was an honour for me to have Joel as a friend, for so many years. He brought joy to me, and to so many people. These are just some of my memories, but there are so many more. Joel had an impact on my life, and I know he had the same impact for so many others. He will be sorely missed.

I know that Joel is in a good place, looking down at us right now, doing some of his favourite things:

Singing some Tragically Hip up on a stage…
Taping a hockey stick…
Ensuring all hockey players take short shifts…
Scoring top corner…
Getting a Christmas tree…
Wearing a Sports Instinct jersey…
Fishing off the boat…
Enjoying a cigar…
Building things with DeWalt tools…
Chainsawing down a tree…
Making an outrageously huge fire…
Camping with friends…
Watching the sunset in Zihuatanejo…
Hugging Sarah, Ashley, and Rachel – with a huge proud smile on his face.

Love you bro. We are all going to miss you.

Geordie Anderson, February 9, 2022

The Lee Family

Truly honoured and blessed to have had the pleasure of meeting this amazing man Joel Lee. Reading through the wonderful messages, you can see just how many people Joel touched, and made such deep connections. Reading the messages, I smile, I am amazed, moved, and get emotional, as he was so special to so many people including myself.
As with many here I met Joel through hockey, and through sports you really get to know more about the people you play with, and through his friendly demeanour, his respect and ability to bring together great quality people, you see just how well he was respected and loved.
So many great memories and am grateful to have met and befriended him.
In the end Joel proved to be one of the bravest men I have met, the way he fought through pain, and always with a positive attitude.
So hard to say ciao for now amico, you will be sorely missed and never forgotten.
My sincerest condolences to entire Lee family, we lost a great one, our loss is heavens gain RIP Joel

Mike Sacca, February 10, 2022



Igorhmk, February 7, 2023

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