Hockey team continues after plane crash

A Manitoba minor hockey team has decided it will finish its season to honour three young players killed in a plane crash.

The boys -- nine-year-old Dawson Pentecost, nine-year-old Logan Spence and his 10-year-old brother Gage Spence -- were killed Sunday when the small plane went down outside their homes in the small community of Waskada.

Experienced pilot and crop duster Darren Spence, 37, had taken his two sons on a routine recreational flight and their friend went along for his first plane ride.

Jason Wickham, an assistant coach on the local co-ed Canucks atom team, said after the crash that everyone on the squad wanted to quit.

But the parents of the remaining eight players got together and talked. Then they all went to visit the families of the dead children.

"They really want us to play. They said, 'The boys, they would want you guys out there playing hockey,'" said Wickham.

"This is something we need to do for Gage and Logan and Dawson -- go and represent them as best we can."

Family said Dawson's father, a volunteer firefighter, received a message on his pager about a plane crash and was one of the first to get to the wreckage by snowmobile. He fell to his knees and cried when he realized everyone on board was dead.

The Transportation Safety Board said the plane, a six-seater Cessna 210, left a private airstrip just outside town about 1 p.m. Its emergency beacon went off 17 minutes later, although people in town reported seeing a plane flying in the area throughout the afternoon.

The plane wasn't found until about 6:30 p.m. A military search and rescue plane from Winnipeg was also called in to help.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the crash but there was some fog and snow at the time.

On Monday, the day after the crash, the Canucks were scheduled to play a game at home that could have sent them to the provincial playoffs. Wickham said they forfeited.

But they'll be back on the ice for practice Thursday and will be in league playoffs later this month. He said the three boys' team numbers will be pasted on players' helmets in time for the first game back.

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