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Memorial hockey game to be held in honour of Snowbird member killed in B.C. crash

Click to play video 'CF Snowbirds crash: Family of Capt. Jenn Casey says her personality ‘could brighten anyone’s day’' CF Snowbirds crash: Family of Capt. Jenn Casey says her personality ‘could brighten anyone’s day’
WATCH ABOVE (May 2020): A statement from the family of Capt. Jenn Casey, who was killed in the CF Snowbirds crash on Sunday in Kamloops, BC, was read out by a spokesperson for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in Halifax on Wednesday. The family said she died supporting a mission “that seemed designed for her,” and remembered her for her “beautiful smile” and an “infectious personality that could brighten anyone’s day.” In the statement, the family said she was “always one for adventure,” and spoke about her career in the military where she thrived and met new friends at every stop – May 20, 2020

Canada knew her as Capt. Jennifer Casey. I knew her as Jenn.

A friend and colleague whose presence alone would light up a room, she was radiant and loved everything Canadiana: The Tragically Hip, cold beer and most of all, her beloved Montreal Canadiens.

Read more: Who was CF Snowbirds member killed in crash? Capt. Jenn Casey remembered as a ‘beautiful person’

“She covered the Mooseheads as a young reporter in Halifax, she would travel to Sweden to go to see the World Juniors, she would organize military games in Moose Jaw with the WHL team there,” Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Scott Boyd, who was Casey’s partner and also a Snowbird, said.

“It was our personal tradition — every Saturday night we’d watch the Habs and then we’d stay up late and watch the Canucks play on the West Coast and more often than not she was a happier person than I was at the end of the night.”

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The 35-year-old Casey, a former journalist and public affairs officer for the Snowbirds, died in May when the Snowbirds jet she was in crashed shortly after takeoff in Kamloops B.C.

The aerobatics team had been on a cross-country tour to help raise people’s spirits during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and had been flying in honour of front-line workers and first responders.

“We can remember her by bringing the values she lived by to what we all do: play your best game, honour your teammates, respect your competitors, have fun and try to bring joy to whatever you do,” writes Casey’s mother, Rose.

On Friday, Nov. 27, the Golden Hawks, the Junior A hockey club in the city of Quinte West, where Casey lived six years of her life, will become the Trenton Snowbirds.

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“She deserves it.  The Golden Hawks were an aerobatics team, before the Snowbirds, so it’s a perfect fit for a former Trenton resident,” explained event organiser and friend of Casey’s, Tim Durkin.

The Trenton Snowbirds will don the red, white, and blue of the birds, with each jersey having the name CASEY on the back, along with the player’s designated number.  After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Support Our Troops, a charity that supports the unique needs and challenges faced by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. It operates within the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.

Read more: ‘Slightly tone-deaf’: Passport Canada tweet draws criticism amid coronavirus pandemic

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“It is only natural we honour the current aerobatics team, Capt. Casey, and Operation Inspiration,” explains John McDonald, the Trenton Golden Hawks director of operations.

“This game would not happen without the Casey family, the Golden Hawks aerobatics team, 431 Squadron in Moose Jaw, CFB Trenton, former Golden Hawk Dan Dempsey, and jersey designer Dave O’Malley.”

In 2012, Casey moved to Trenton and began working at Quinte Broadcasting (CJBQ, Mix 97, Rock 107, Quinte News).  After leaving radio, she began a career in the military.  She spent time as a public affairs officer (PAO) at 8-Wing Trenton, PAO with the CF-18 Demo Team, and then with the Snowbirds, based out of Moose Jaw.

“She loved the town of Trenton and all of the surrounding areas,” added Boyd.

The game will be aired on YourTV in the Quinte Region and can also be seen online at Hockey TV.

The jerseys will be auctioned online at eBay starting Monday, Nov. 30.