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 that above all, Julie was a mother.

"Before she was a hockey mom, she was a dance mom," said Paskall. "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 Dec. 29 when she was brutally attacked in a robbery gone wrong.

Paskall said that when Caelyn came out from the arena looking for his mother, he saw the 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 took a final chance to say goodbye and removed Julie from life-support.
Paskall said the death has been difficult for their three children, especially their youngest son 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 her assailant made such a deliberately violent attack on his 4-10, 125-pound wife.

"It's beyond me, you couldn't just snatch her purse?" he wants to know. "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 Julie in the hospital out of Paskall's head.

"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 their 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 the CBC 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.

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