Well-known Yellowknifer Carl Bulger, a great supporter of sports in the city for decades, has passed away suddenly.

Bulger is believed to have suffered a major heart attack in the early hours of Saturday.

“Carl Bulger was a big man with a bigger heart,” said the Yellowknife Fastball League on its Facebook page. “He will be sorely missed by the whole community.”

Family and friends added tributes to a man who “always had a smile on his face,” had time for everyone he met, and touched the lives of hundreds of northern residents.

Sheila Bassi-Kellett, the City of Yellowknife’s senior administrative officer, said his death was “a deep loss to his family and to Yellowknife.” Former Hay River MLA Jane Groenewegen said Bulger “was larger than life and so kind.”

Bulger’s passing came as a shock to the community. Just weeks earlier, he had laughed and joked with Cabin Radio broadcasters while taping an interview about the Chris Bergman minor hockey tournament.

When not operating his carpet cleaning service, Bulger was a keen supporter and sponsor of fastball and hockey in the city, and a regular attendee at world junior hockey tournaments.

He is survived by his wife Gail and children Lonan and Regan, who both inherited their father’s passion for hockey. Lonan represents Minnesota’s Shattuck-St Mary’s School at U16 AAA level.