The friends and teammates of an Abbotsford man shot and killed while vacationing in Honduras took to the blue line for a minute of silence before their hockey game on Tuesday night.
The game was the first the team had played without 34-year-old Tim Vallee who was reportedly robbed at gunpoint and shot in the head on the Island of Roatan on Oct. 17.
Vallee, an officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, had moved to Abbotsford from Montreal about a year and half ago and rapidly become an active and invaluable member of a number of teams in the city's recreational league. Former teammates hit the ice in memory of Vallee at Abbotsford's Centre Ice Arena Tuesday sporting a special patch on their uniforms as a tribute to their friend.
The patch features Vallee's initials worked in red, white and blue - the colours of his favourite hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, said teammate Alex Peterson.
"The Habs were in his DNA," said Peterson.
"The patch will remember our French guy. We'll never forget him and every time we lace up, we want him on our mind."
The game was an emotional one for the players who will miss Vallee's optimism and exuberance, whether it be pumping up his team before a game or trying to lift their spirits after losing, said Peterson.
"He had a way of always lighting up the room after a difficult game or a big loss," he said.
"[One teammate] probably summed it up best when he described Tim as, 'the nicest guy that would slash someone in the face.'"
Vallee was instrumental in helping his team, the Sports Zone Lightning, win its division 2012 championship.
He was also infamous for compiling an eclectic mix of "dance music" he'd blare from his iPhone post game.
Honduran police say that Vallee, 34, another Canadian man and two local women left an isolated bar near the town of Coxen Hole around 1 a.m., according to the Honduran news site Diario Tiempo.
The group began to walk toward the main road when it was waylaid by two men in a white truck, one of whom had a gun.
Vallee was shot as he was handing over his cell phone.
One suspect, believed to have been driving the Nissan truck likely involved in the robbery, has been arrested.
Police have issued a warrant for another who is suspected of shooting Vallee, but who has reportedly fled the island.
Peterson said the team is thinking of Vallee's family and close friends after his tragic death.
"We will always remember the good, and feel blessed for the time we knew this amazing man who was taken from us before his time."