Her Twitter Bio said it best, “You can find me in the TV studio, NHL arena/ locker room, on a plane, or writing. Southern. Sarcastic. Sass.Class.Crass. Grammar snob.” When I first started talking to Jessica Redfield, she was the new girl from Texas looking for a place in Denver. She tragically left this world while trying to enjoy the Dark Knight Rises in Aurora early this morning. The gunman took away the life of a young woman who had blossomed into everyone’s favorite red head in the Colorado Avalanche community and the Denver media.
My friendship with Jessica was based on talking about sports. She was a big hockey fan and was covering the Avalanche for a blog and later a radio station. The first team she helped covered was the minor-league hockey San Antonio Rampage. She spent her college years in College Station, at Texas A & M, and then moved to Denver to continue her education and pursue her dream in sports journalism.
Jessica was very opinionated and smart. Except for a refresher on why everyone in Colorado hates Todd Bertuzzi, she needed little help in adjusting to the Colorado Avalanche scene. She quickly was running around the Pepsi Center between periods like she owned the place. She didn’t like it if you called her out when she fell out of her heals at her always fast pace.
Jessica’s NHL team, apart from the adopted Avalanche, was the Vancouver Canucks. I gave Jessica a hard time for wearing green in the press box to the game, which I could see from far away as I sat through an embarrassing 3-0 Avs blowout loss to the Canucks. For those of you who are unaware, there is no cheering in the press box. Jessica also wore red to a Blackhawks games and stepped on the Avalanche logo. I know she took a lot of grief for these things, but was great at laughing things off and finding humor in these situations.
When I asked if she wanted to hang out after the Avs were blown out in the Canucks game, she said she was going out with Cancuks TV people, which I said was a big rejection to an Avs fan. She texted me the next day and relayed a story about how she’d hung out with players Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. Apparently Kesler tried to throw a shoe at Jessica three times on a night full of inappropriate jokes and laughs.
Jessica made friends quickly. The Avalanche fan community loved Jessica and has already expressed their sorrow immensely on twitter today. She was extremely passionate about the game of hockey, but still had her limits. In perhaps my favorite message from her ever she said late in the season that hockey was changing her mood so quickly from good to bad that she needed the day off.
Jessica wanted to be a sports broadcaster and worked tirelessly towards this goal. As someone with similar aspirations we had discussions about where we wanted to go. She was very committed to making it work in hockey and no one who came into contact with her would doubt she would do big things. On top of this we argued about the Avs-Canucks rivalry, the Texas A &M-Texas Rivalry and even a little basketball and baseball. However, Jessica’s main love was hockey. She was already tired of hearing about Peyton Manning.
Jessica’s infectious personality won over newspapermen and radio commentators alike. She quickly became everyone’s friend and was never treated like an outsider in Colorado. A tweet from @Jessicaredfield could change a bad day to good. The thought of never seeing another one is truly heartbreaking. Jessica enjoyed the life she had as she tried to achieve her goals and she was an incredible friend to have. She was a positive influence on my life and I am sure on so many others. Jessica will be incredibly missed.