When members of the Sports Zone Boltz men’s hockey team take to the ice Tuesday night, they will each wear a special patch on their jerseys.
The patch will sport the initials “TV” in memory of their friend and teammate Tim Vallee.
Vallee, whose full name was Themy Alexandre Vallee-Apostolakis, was shot and killed during a robbery last Wednesday in Honduras.
Team member Alex Peterson said the close-knit squad is still in shock since hearing the tragic news on Thursday. The team gathered the following night to share memories of their French-Canadian friend.
Peterson said Vallee, 34, played with passion on the ice.
“Tim was very big on making our team feel like a family, always encouraging us to go out for drinks after the game or getting together on other nights even when there wasn’t hockey,” he said.
Peterson was one of the first people to meet Vallee, a conservation officer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, when he moved to Abbotsford from Montreal about two years ago. Peterson was working at a local sporting goods story when Vallee dropped by.
The two discovered they shared the same birthday – July 7 – and both were hockey fanatics. Peterson invited Vallee to join the Boltz men’s hockey team.
“Tim was an immediate hit in the room and instantly got along with everyone,” Peterson said of Vallee meeting the squad for the first time.
He said Vallee’s positive spirit often encouraged the team after a difficult loss and helped lead them to the 2011-12 Centre Ice C-Division Championship. He energized the team after every game during their playoff run by plugging in his iPhone and blasting lively dance tunes, Peterson said.
Tuesday will be their first game without their charismatic winger.
“It is sure to be an emotional game for all of us, as we are so used to his bubbling personality getting us pumped for the games and sharing stories in the room,” Peterson said.
News agencies in Honduras reported that Vallee was leaving a bar called “La Cueva” on the island of Roatan off the Honduran coast early Wednesday morning.
He was walking down a dark stretch of gravel road with three local women to catch a taxi from the main road, according to the reports.
Two men in a white pickup truck reportedly approached Vallee and demanded his iPhone and cash, and when he resisted, he was shot in the head. Vallee was taken to Roatan Hospital, where he died about two hours later, according to the Bay Islands Voice, a monthly news publication in Roatan.
Vallee had been in Honduras for several days and was nearing the end of his vacation. He was not married and did not have children.
The bar is described as being in a rough neighbourhood that does not cater to tourists.
One suspect, Eon Ezekiel Carter Stewart, 29, was arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting. But, as of press deadline Monday, the man suspected of firing the fatal shot was still at large.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Roger Natividad Ruiz Avila, 22.