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Players, coaches and fans in Manitoba's basketball community are mourning the loss of a beloved referee. 

Dave Price brough a special and unique attitude to the court, which made him popular with everyone involved in the game, according to Basketball Manitoba executive director Adam Wedlake. 

"Anyone can learn the rules and when to make a call, when to not make a call, but it was his personality and the demeanor he brought to every game stood out to everyone," Wedlake said. "I'd be hard pressed to find anyone out there who would say anything negative about him." 

Wedlake says it's not often so many players, coaches and fans make a positive connection with officials, who are often vilified. 

"You need a little thicker skin and you know sometimes you won't be the most popular person in the gym," Wedlake said. "But the words I've seen online the most in the last few days are 'my favourite referee.' He was a unique character and you could see his passion for the game and that he loved every second he was on the court with the kids." 

In addition to reffing, Price also volunteered at Special Olympics Manitoba events and was a fixture at Winnipeg Goldeyes games, according to Wedlake. 

Price originally moved to from New York to Brandon in 1975 to play basketball for the Bobcats. He would eventually settle in Winnipeg. 

Price's family started a Go Fund Me page, with the proceeds going to the Lord Roberts Community Centre in his name.

Soon after Basketball Manitoba shared news of Price's death, online tributes poured in: 

 

If you know anything about basketball in Manitoba, you know that Dave Price an amazing man. In women’s league he will be remembered as the ref who sung on the court constantly, made way too much fun of us, and reffed every game with a huge smile on his face. You will be missed. pic.twitter.com/u9JXTz5YPu

— Kyleigh Parrington (@MissParrington) October 13, 2018

My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Price’s family and the community of referees in Manitoba. There’s no doubt that he loved what he did and had a major impact on the basketball community. https://t.co/lY05hyNHzp

— JP Beauchemin (@jbeauchemin) October 14, 2018

The entire Wesmen Family shares its deepest condolences on the passing of Dave Price, a longtime player, coach, official & tireless supporter of basketball in our province. The game in Manitoba will not be the same without him but it is better from having had him. @basketballmb

— Wesmen Athletics (@Wesmenathletics) October 13, 2018

Dave was the best guy. My daughters, my players and I always loved when Dave was in our gym. I regret I never had the chance to officiate with him. We had some great chats though, and he always made me feel like a friend. He will be missed dearly and remembered fondly.

— Trish Hallson (@trishhallson) October 14, 2018

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