Trenton Golden Hawks honour fallen Snowbird through jersey fundraiser
The Trenton Golden Hawks became The Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Captain Jennifer Casey of the Canadian Armed Forces, who died in May in a fatal crash in Kamloops, BC. Game jerseys were auctioned off with proceeds directed to Soldier On.
Trenton, Ontario, also known as Quinte West, is fondly recognized as “Air Force City,” with Canadian Forces Base Trenton operating as the hub for air transport operations in Canada. On November 27, 2020, the community’s junior hockey team, the Trenton Golden Hawks, played a game that would garner national attention for not only the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) community, but for a former Trenton resident in particular.
For that game, the Trenton Golden Hawks changed their jerseys, socks, and their team name to the Trenton Snowbirds to honour Captain Jennifer Casey, who died in May 2020 in a fatal Snowbirds crash in Kamloops, BC. Casey was a part of “Operation Inspiration,” a coast-to-coast mission the Snowbirds undertook to bring joy to Canadians during COVID-19.
Though the game was closed to spectators due to the pandemic, fans could watch the live television broadcast. During the broadcast, David Foot, a former radio host and friend of Captain Casey shared memories of who she was, and her passion for the game of hockey.
Trenton Golden Hawks Coach and General Manager emphasized the day’s significance to the community: “The players not only understood the importance of the game, but what it symbolized as well. This was someone who meant a lot to the Quinte region, her Halifax and Moose Jaw communities, and the military. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of, and I know it is something these young men will remember for years to come. I know I will.”
Following the game, the jerseys worn by the Golden Hawks were auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to Soldier On. There was such a national demand for the jerseys, the Golden Hawks received permission from the Department of National Defense to print an additional 100 jerseys after the fact. These jerseys were auctioned off within three days. The Golden Hawks raised a total of $15,000 for Soldier On.
“We are incredibly appreciative and moved by this incredible gesture by the Trenton Golden Hawks and those who generously purchased jerseys,” says Scott Johnson, Associate Vice President of Corporate Development for Support Our Troops. “The Snowbird’s Operation Inspiration was intended to encourage Canadians that better times lie ahead; however, the untimely death of Captain Jennifer Casey is a tragedy that affected all of us during an already challenging year. We are honoured and touched by the ongoing support that our country continues to show towards our Canadian Armed Forces community throughout this pandemic. This donation will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of our ill and injured members.”