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Hockey dad's 'last-second heroics' saved his son in fatal Coquihalla crash, coach says


A New Westminster minor hockey team is rallying around a family who lost their dad in a tragic crash on the Coquihalla Highway earlier this week.

The New Westminster Royals U15 team held a moment of silence before their game on Tuesday evening against Semiahmoo in South Surrey.

The athletes had just found out that their teammate Timur Gabbassov and his dad Ravil were in a head-on collision on the way home from a hockey tournament in Kelowna they had all just attended. About 41 kilometres south of Merritt, the Ford-F-150 Ravil was driving crossed the centre line and collided with a semi-truck and trailer, according to authorities.

Ravil was pronounced dead at the scene, and Timur was airlifted to hospital with minor injuries.

The players were given the option to postpone their game, but they voted to play on.

“The team unanimously said that Ravil wouldn’t miss a game, so neither will we,” said Justin Bourne, president of the New Westminster Minor Hockey Association and coach of a U13 team.

He told CTV News that Timur came away from the crash with “a few stitches and a sore knee” thanks to “last-second heroics” from his dad.

Bourne said the oncoming semi-truck was going to collide with the passenger’s side of the pick-up, but Ravil maneuvered the vehicle before impact.

“I understand from people who spoke to Timur that his dad was able to turn the car and take the hit himself,” he said.

Bourne described Ravil as “nothing but supportive” of his son and the hockey association. He said Timur was injured during a game in October, and wasn’t able to play until last weekend’s tournament.

Despite that, both father and son attended every single game—Timur helping players from the bench, and Ravil recording video for the coaches.

Bourne said the news of the crash shocked the community.

“It hits very close to home, (the families) have spent the entire last weekend together with Timur and his father Ravil, and as you can imagine those are very tight and unique bonding experiences, so to have this come on the heels of that—on the road that they would have all driven not long before—is shocking and disturbing,” he explained.

The president said Timur has been “in good spirits” in light of the tragedy, and has been keeping in touch with his teammates as he recovers in a Kamloops hospital.

“He’s quite eager to get back,” Bourne said with a laugh. “I think he actually was expecting, maybe against the doctor’s wishes, that he would be able to get back from Kamloops and be here tonight.” Top Stories

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