Noah Trulsen with his mother Lorraine. (Facebook photo)

Bieksa, Lights offer tributes for young B.C. man who died playing hockey

Gratitude, donations and tributes for Noah Trulsen pour in, including a song by Lights and former Canuck Kevin Bieksa

After his tragic death while playing hockey, the hockey community and all of Noah Trulsen’s many friends have rallied around his family.

“We feel we’ve had such an outpouring of support, from Maple Ridge, from the hockey community … the support we’ve been receiving is overwhelming,” said his mother, Lorraine Overes Trulsen.

Noah, 22, died early in the morning on Oct. 4, after having crashed headfirst into the bench area during a men’s recreational hockey game. His family – including father Rick and brothers Nick, 25, and Matthew, 19 – is well-known in the hockey community.

Lorraine said her gentle giant of a son obviously made an impression on people.

“We knew he was a good kid inside our four walls, but we’re so proud of the man he was out in the world,” she said. “He was kind, he was gentle, he was caring, he was empathetic, he was loving …

“If he knew you for five minutes or knew you for 10 years, he made you feel like you were his best friend.”

Noah was six-foot-six, about 270 pounds, “if we’re being generous,” and his favourite player, and ever-present defence partner in hockey video games was Kevin Bieksa, the former Vancouver Canuck.

“He was Noah’s absolute favourite.”

Bieksa first sent out a social media consolation: “My deepest condolences to Noah Trulsen’s family in Maple Ridge, B.C. Noah passed away Oct. 4th while playing men’s league hockey, falling awkwardly into the boards. The hockey world is mourning with you …”

Then he actually called and spoke with Matthew over the phone, hearing the bereaved brother’s remembrances of Noah.

Noah also loved the singer Lights, and after being reached by one of his friends, she also offered an online musical tribute to him.

“He was in love with Lights,” said his mother.

Lorraine received social media condolences from the mother of a player killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, as the story of Noah’s death went across the country.

The mother, who will remain anonymous, offered to talk with Noah’s mom.

“It meant the world to me,” said Lorraine.

Her middle son had just completed his final exam, and become an electrician.

The registrar from BCIT informed the family that Noah will be recognized as part of this year’s commencement ceremonies.

Lorraine said she moved to Maple Ridge in 1995 while she was pregnant with Noah, and he was raised here. He was in French immersion since kindergarten, attended Laityview elementary, then graduated from Maple Ridge secondary, and was honour roll every year.

He liked to work out at the gym, and hang out with his brothers Matt and Nick, who were all very close.

“They would go to concerts, to ‘Wings Wednesday,’ or whatever, in that next stage of life as adults.”

Noah had a group of friends from Grade 8 and all were a huge part of his world.

“They did everything together, and five years after high school, they’re still together,” said Lorraine.

The family has inquired about having a bench installed in Noah’s memory, in Merkeley Park near MRSS, they hope, as a place where his friends can visit him.

A celebration of life will be held on Oct. 20, 4 p.m. at Maple Ridge Baptist Church, and it is open to all of his friends from school, hockey or other pathways of life.

“Honouring him, for us, is remembering his friends in this, because they were such a big part of his life.”

The family is asking for those who have photos of Noah to send three of their favourites, for use in the celebration of life, by sending them to InMemoryofNLT@outlook.com.

They are also inviting guests to come informally, in that they could wear hockey jerseys, or concert shirts – whatever represents Noah to them.

“We would love to see that.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been established for a memorial fund, and has already hit $14,500 of its $20,000 goal.

Lorraine said the details have yet to be firmed up, but the family would like to see a bursary given to a Maple Ridge person who is pursuing the trades, in Noah’s memory.

The Ridge Meadows Flames junior B team will be donating its 50/50 money to the memorial fund from Friday night’s game.

“We want to contribute something back,” said GM Derek Bedard. “I’ve known the family for 10 years in minor hockey circles, and they’re first class, always willing to help out.”

“When you are out playing the game you love, things like that just shouldn’t happen,” added Flames coach Bayne Ryshak.

Lorraine said she hopes the game at Cam Neely Arena is packed on Friday, and the family will be there.

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