Tournament renamed in honour of slain hockey mom

SURREY – The hockey community has come together to honour slain Surrey mother Julie Paskall on the one-year anniversary of her death.

The Surrey Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) renamed their Christmas competition the Julie Paskall Memorial Tournament and that name will live on in future years.

Paskall, who was a timekeeper for the club, was attacked outside Newton Arena on Dec. 29, 2013 when she was picking up her son from a hockey game. She died in hospital two days later.

Surrey Minor Hockey Association president Harbs Bains said the idea to rename the tournament came from members during last year’s AGM.

“It was, to be honest, an opportunity for hockey participants, volunteers, not only from our association, but families from other associations, to come together and acknowledge it was a shame what happened and to acknowledge that the Paskall family suffered gravely. We didn’t want to forget that,” he stressed.

Bains said Paskall was dedicated – like every other member in the organization.

“They’re very, very selfless and they put themselves out there, put their family out there, give their time, and it was respect that our membership had for families – and Julie’s was an example of a typical family that would give.”

Bains said it isn’t just Surrey’s hockey community that still feels the loss of Paskall, as he received calls from outside the province and even outside the country on the anniversary of her death.

“It’s a very tight-knit community,” he said. “They haven’t forgotten.”

Bains said the first memorial tournament, which ran in the last week of December in 2014, went well. The event included a moment of silence in the slain mom’s honour and a puck-drop by her daughter Rhiannon at a championship game.

In future years, Bains said the memorial event will be an opportunity to “take a step back, appreciate what we have, appreciate all those that help to make things go forward and not to forget.”

Meanwhile, the Paskall family held a private memorial in her honour at Holland Park on Dec. 31, leaving flowers and having tea.

The suspect in Paskall’s killing, Yosef Jomo Gopaul, has been charged with second-degree murder and is due back in court later this month.

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