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N.B. community of Sussex remembers fallen police officer at memorial basketball game

Click to play video: 'Annual Robb Costello Memorial Alumni Game honours fallen Fredericton officer'
Annual Robb Costello Memorial Alumni Game honours fallen Fredericton officer
Friends and family of fallen officer Const. Rob Costello were finally able to gather again for a memorial basketball game. The Dairytown Classic is an annual tournament for high school teams with an alumni game – now named the Robb Costello Memorial Game. Nathalie Sturgeon was there for the first one since the pandemic began – Jan 29, 2023

Robb Costello once walked the halls of Sussex Regional High School, where he would also play basketball.

After graduation, Costello would join the Fredericton police force. He was killed in the line of duty in 2018, alongside Bobbi Lee Wright, Donnie Robichaud, and fellow Fredericton Police Force Const. Sara Burns.

Read more: Sara Burns Police Memorial Fund $200,000 and growing

Now, friends, family and community members gather for an alumni memorial game as part of the Dairytown Classic Basketball Tournament.

Tom Lewis, one of the organizers of the alumni game — which wasn’t played in the past two years due to COVID-19 — said they wanted to honour Costello in his hometown.

“It’s just been (an) overwhelming success,” Lewis said. “The community definitely gets involved and backs something that Robb would be very pleased with.”

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Proceeds from admission to the two games, a men’s and women’s game, go directly toward a scholarship in Costello’s name. In 2019, that fund raised $2,800, according to Lewis.

“Robb was someone who impacted a lot of youth in the community and wanted to make sure his name stuck in this gym,” he said.

The Robb Costello Memorial Alumni Game was created in 2019 and resumed in 2023. Donations raised go toward a scholarship in Costello’s honour. Nathalie Sturgeon/Global News

In the Dairytown Classic Basketball Tournament, teams from all over the province descend on Sussex to play for gold.

Dolores Costello, Jackie McLean, and other members of Costello’s family came to the inaugural game back in 2019 and returned for the 2023 game.

McLean, Costello’s wife, said she is grateful to community members for their support. Despite COVID-19 putting a stop to the clock on the game for a couple of years, many people filled the bleachers at Sussex Regional High School on Jan. 29.

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For her, remembering Costello is a big part of her life.

“It means a lot to me to see all these other people here remembering him too because every day that goes by I miss him more and more,” she said.

At the end of the tournament, two individuals are awarded the Costello Sonic Award, which honours a player who is the heart of their team and supports them in every way possible.

McLean said while Costello wasn’t the best basketball player, as with everything else in his life, he gave it 110 per cent.

“He would do anything for the team,” she said. “He would say, even with our children, ‘Did you have fun?’ Because that’s the most important part.”

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