Five years after Jas Dhaliwal’s passing, his family is continuing to keep his spirit alive through the fifth annual JD Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament.
This family event is a way for the Dhaliwal family to extend Jas’ generous ambience to the community while raising money for a special JD Memorial Bursary for the respiratory program at Kamloops College — the same program Jas had graduated from.
“For us we were thinking of what we could do to remember Jas and not only raise money for a bursary, but on top of that have kids come out and enjoy the day with adults,” said Jas’ older brother Nick Dhaliwal, one of the main organizers of the event.
“It’s about going out there and enjoying ball hockey, remembering Jas but also networking and enjoying the camaraderie.”
Jas, the youngest son and second youngest child out of seven siblings, passed away on August 21, 2006 at the age of 37 from a motorcycle accident on the Pattullo Bridge.
Born in Vancouver, he went to school in Surrey. After graduating from Kamloops College, he worked as a registered respiratory therapist at Burnaby General Hospital.
Jas went through his share of difficulties, including a back tumor that damaged a nerve when it was removed. Dhaliwal says Jas lived the last year of his life in great pain.
“He fought a lot of adversity in his life and would try to look through it and look at the bright side,” he said.
This is the spirit that Dhaliwal wants to celebrate.
“I don’t really think it’s keeping his memory alive but keeping the goodness of what he stood for alive,” he said.
“If I can add to someone’s life something more positive, that’s to me what makes it worth it.”
Dhaliwal and his brothers grew up playing ball hockey, and have continuously been involved in the sport throughout their lives.
“It kept us out of trouble,” said Dhaliwal.
They knew that hosting a hockey tournament would be a perfect compliment to Jas’ life.
Last year nearly 300 people showed up the the tournament at McLeod Athletic Park, including 120 ball hockey players.
The Dhaliwal’s have emphasized making it a fun family event, and have made it a rule that each team must have either two players under 15 years of age or two women on the floor during the match.
“That’s the neatest thing, you have adults and you have kids and they are playing competitively together, and enjoying themselves,” said Dhaliwal.
There will be a concession, kids activities, medals and contests throughout the day, including a slap shot contest using a police radar gun to measure the speed.
Hockey teams will be guaranteed three round robins, with the highest point teams going head to head for medals at the end of the day.
The event is taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor box at McLeod Athletic Park. Registration of teams will happen in the morning and those who do not have their own team will be placed on one.
Cost is $10 for players under 15 years of age and $20 for players over 15, with all money being donated to the J D Memorial Bursary.
“It’s a day for remembering Jas but it’s also a day for everyone else,” said Dhaliwal.
“This is a way of actually doing something that enriches people’s lives.”