The slaying of hockey mom Julie Paskall has sparked a push for change in the crime-ridden borough of Newton in Surrey, B.C., but for her family, the focus has been on mourning the loss of a mother and wife.

Her husband, Al Paskall, said he has spent the last week in a fog, still trying to face the reality of his wife's violent death.

"She was a great person. She was the love of my life," he said. "We had been going together, seems like forever."

Paskall said Julie was a mother who lived for her family and dedicated herself to whatever activities her three children enjoyed.

"We got stuffed in the scorebooth one time, several years ago when we started hockey. From there she's gone from pushing the clock button to being a statistician for the team.

"She was always a sports person herself. I'm a sports person myself and we both channelled it right into our son, " said Paskall. 

"Before she was a hockey mom, she was a dance mom," he added. "Now our girls have grown up and moved away, so she's a hockey mom."

She was waiting to pick up her 16-year-old son Caelyn from refereeing at the Newton Arena on Dec. 29 when she was brutally attacked in an apparent robbery gone wrong.

Julie Paskall

Julie Paskall was brutally attacked outside the Newton Arena in Surrey on Dec. 29. (Family photo)

Paskall said that when Caelyn came out of the arena looking for his mother, he saw her van and a crowd of people.

"[He] looked and they were working on her there," he said.

When he got word his wife had been seriously injured, Paskall said he rushed to the hospital.

"Things went down from there quickly," he said.

Two days later, on New Year's Eve, the family said their goodbyes and Julie was removed from life-support.
                             
Paskall said her death has been difficult for their three children, especially for Caelyn.

"They were best buddies," he said. "She was his rock, his rock too, and no one should see their mom looking like that."

Paskall wants to find the person responsible, but not for revenge. He simply wants to know why anyone would attack his 4-10", 125-pound wife.

"It's beyond me, you couldn't just snatch her purse?" he wondered. "You had to stay and beat her?"

The attacker broke every bone in Julie's face, he said. Thirty-seven years' worth of memories can't get the image of his wife in the hospital out of Paskall's head.

Julie Paskall -memorial

Flowers, notes, candles and other tributes adorn a corner of the parking lot at the Newton Arena in Surrey, B.C., where hockey mom Julie Paskall was killed while waiting to pick up her son on Sunday evening. (CBC)

"The only visual I get when I close my eyes is the way she was in the hospital," he said.

People from around the world — everywhere from Hong Kong to Sweden and Russia —  have been sending condolences. Paskall said members of the worldwide hockey community have been pledging money to help the family through this difficult time.

More than anything, Paskall said, he hopes this kind of tragedy never happens to anyone else. It is the only reason the profoundly private man agreed to speak to CBC News on camera.

"If this helps catch whoever that person was, it's worth being on camera? I hope that people take the people they love and tell them they love them, because you just don't know," he said.

with files from the CBC's Renee Filippone