West Kelowna Warriors react to death of former ‘silent leader’

Parm Dhaliwal, who played three seasons for West Kelowna, was found dead in a New York City hotel

“He wasn’t only just a great friend, but a great teammate.”

That’s how Parm Dhaliwal’s ex-teammate Cavin Tilsley described Dhaliwal, who was found dead in a New York City hotel room on July 30.

The two of them played a big role for the West Kelowna Warriors in their junior hockey careers, skating together for two-and-a-half seasons for the team.

“He was somebody I could always count on,” said Tilsley. “He also had everybody’s back when you needed him, and one of my favourite things I loved about him is he always knew how to keep the room light and make a joke at the right time, make people happy, and put a smile on people’s faces. That’s something not everyone can do and something I’m going to miss dearly.”

Before suiting up together for the Warriors, the two were acquainted from playing with and against each other while growing up in the Lower Mainland. During their time in West Kelowna, they became the leaders of the team along with forward Chase Dubois. Tilsley said that while him and Dubois were louder, Parm was a quieter leader, making a good counterbalance.

(Photo - West Kelowna Warriors)

“Near the beginning we kind of went into it as boys, so to speak, and by the end of it we turned into men,” said Tilsley “Watching Parm grow, not only as a player but just as a person and a leader was pretty unbelievable. He did so much and so many little things that didn’t always get noticed but contributed incredibly to the team’s success.”

Dhaliwal spent three seasons in West Kelowna, and during his last, the team welcomed a new play-by-play broadcaster and director of business development and communications in Chase Johnston.

“I didn’t really know a single player on the team when I joined the team but there was one player who kind of went out of his way in the locker room after practice to shake my hand, and it was Parm,” said Johnston.

Dhaliwal was the team’s number-one centre, becoming a point-a-game player in his last season in 2018-19.

“He was a silent leader but he did speak up when he needed to speak up,” said Johnston. “Parm was always a guy who stayed out of trouble. Parm was always a guy who led by example, but the one thing I have to say about Parm was he made the players around him better. He was the one guy on that team that no matter who he played with, he made them better.”

During that season, even though they weren’t linemates, Dhaliwal and now Chicago Blackhawks forward Mike Hardman played on the powerplay together, on what was the second best powerplay in the entire BCHL.

“Parm’s vision on the ice and the way he could read plays was better than anybody on the team,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that during that season, Dhaliwal had four or five schools talking to him for the following season.

“He had a lot of colleges talking to him cause he was a smart guy, he was very academically strong,” said Johnston.

Hockey teams around the B.C. and the league came out with their condolences about Dhaliwal over the last few days. His cause of death has yet to be determined.

A celebration of his life is being held on Sunday, August 7 in Surrey.

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jordy.cunningham@kelownacapnews.com

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