Julie Paskall was beaten to death outside a Surrey, B.C., hockey arena three Sundays ago and, so far, no one has been arrested for the crime.
Police said the attack on Paskall was unprovoked and the suspected motive is robbery.
The 53-year-old mother was brutally assaulted in the parking lot of the Newton Arena while waiting to pick up her teenage son, Cailean, who was refereeing a hockey game the night of Dec. 29.
When Cailean came out to the parking lot, he found his mother surrounded by paramedics who were desperately trying to save her life.
She was taken to hospital where she was put on life support but she died days later, the morning New Year's Eve.
The boy's father and Julie's husband, Al Paskall, said Julie's loss is a hole that nothing can mend.
Julie and Al were high school sweethearts married almost 35 years and have three children together, including Cailean — who appears to be coping with what he went through that night.
"Well, you know, boys they don't talk much, right? I think he's alright," Al Paskall said. "We're trying to keep life as normal as possible. He's playing hockey, going to school," he said.
Vigil draws hundreds
Julie Paskall was also very active and well-known to many in the local community, and many felt a personal loss with her death.
Last night, hockey players and coaches, friends, neighbours, and concerned citizens joined the Paskall family for a public memorial that drew hundreds to Holland Park in North Surrey.
At the ceremony, Harbs Bains, president of the Surrey Minor Hockey Association, paid his respect to a loving mother, invaluable volunteer and, quintessential hockey mom.
"Tonight's an opportunity for us to really hold hands, have positive thoughts and really focus on Julie and her memory. Everything else is second tonight," he said.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts also spoke, and said she knows that many at the vigil, and many members of the community, feel anger and grief, and want to find someone to blame — but that justice is what's needed.
"Let us be motivated by this loss to reach out to those that are in our lives with compassion, with empathy and with kindness, because we will not allow this horrible tragedy to define who we are as a community," she said.
Al Paskall, said that though the family will be holding a private funeral later this week, he wanted the public vigil because he recognizes that the community needs to grieve as well.
"As you may have noticed, it's not just been a local issue... It's Canada-wide," he said.
Strangers from all over have been reaching out to the family, sending messages and cards to the City of Surrey, which has been forwarding them to the family.
"I've gotten emails from Hong Kong. I've gotten emails from Sweden. You know, I've gotten cards from people I've never met before in my life," Paskall said.
"I think it is something that has touched a lot of people but as usual, it takes somebody's death or some serious injury before... the changes start," he said.
"Hopefully, this is the beginning of some of the changes we need."