‘He was the most genuine, amazing guy ever’: Family mourns Maple Ridge hockey player killed on ice

A Maple Ridge family is sharing their shock and heartbreak Friday, after losing their son in a freak accident at a hockey rink.

Noah Trulsen died on Wednesday night after crashing head-first into the boards while playing hockey in an adult recreational league in Langley.

At six-foot-six, the 22-year-old was a giant on the ice. But outside of the rink, his family says he was larger than life.

B.C. rec league hockey player dies after ramming boards in Langley

“He was the most genuine, amazing guy ever. He started off as just my brother and then throughout the years became my best friend, my idol,” said Noah’s younger brother Matthew.

“That’s what he did. He touched everyone no matter if you knew him for five minutes or 10 years, you were part of his life the day you met him.”

Noah’s mom Lorraine told Global News her son was late to hockey, preferring soccer as a child. But once he picked up a stick at around 11-years-old, he was hooked.

“He was like a giraffe on ice when he started, and he worked so hard at the sport that he loved. He shone,” she said.

Tragedy struck on Wednesday after Noah was offered a slot as a spare defenceman in Adult Safe Hockey League at Langley Twin Rinks.

Teammate Gerry Leiper said he may have caught an edge while rushing to the bench for a line change. Leiper said Noah went forehead-first into the top of the boards, with his face shield striking his nose.

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Noah’s father Rick said players rushed to his aid — with one of the goalies providing CPR within seconds. But despite best efforts, including the work of several paramedics, he didn’t survive.

“We arrived to find three ambulances, a fire truck, three or four police cars and the ambulance supervisor,” he said.

“I jumped onto the ice… I saw that they were still doing chest compressions on Noah, and that was 30 to 40 minutes since we had gotten the call. And I think at that time, I knew that he wasn’t going to make it.

“Probably the toughest day of my life. And it continues.”

He said it’s still unclear what killed his son, whether he broke something or had a heart attack.

While the Trulsen family said they knew their son had an outsized impact on everyone around him, they didn’t realize just how big an imprint he left on the world until tributes began pouring in.

“We never realized the magnitude of the heart that he had that touched people, is just, it’s a legacy, it really is, and for us to be able to say it was ours is the best thing,” said Lorraine.

Dave Lige, executive director with the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey League, said Noah’s death has sent shockwaves through the hockey community.

“We battle hard on the ice against each other, but at times like this, we rally hard with each other. I’ve already received numerous calls today, text messages today, on different initiatives that we should begin to look at moving forward to support the Trulsens,” he said.

A GoFundMe campaign for the Trulsen family has been set up.

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The family says they’re grateful to everyone that rushed to Noah’s help on Wednesday, from the paramedics to the hospital team that tried everything they could to revive him.

And they say while Noah’s death has left a hole in their heart, the bright way he lived his life will keep him in their thoughts forever.

“He would always, always say, ‘I love you.’ That was the last words we said to our son,” said Lorraine.

“Even when he left that night, his last words to all of us,” added Matthew.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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