ROSEVILLE, Minn. — In a sign of community and support throughout an extended hockey family, thousands showed up at the Roseville Oval Thursday night to honor a Roseville hockey alum and current Gustavus Adolphus College goaltender.
Jori Jones, 19, was killed late last month in a car crash involving fellow hockey teammates. She leaves behind her parents, sister, brother and community reeling from their loss.
“It’s gut-wrenching. It’s life-changing. This is a loss for the Jones family but also for the entire community, and it shows by who showed up. She was just such a beautiful soul inside and out,” said Gretchen Hopeman, a family friend and president of Roseville Area Youth Hockey.
For four hours on Thursday evening, people poured into a banquet room filled with Jones’ family and pictures of the standout student, hockey player and role model. And from her college teammates to her high school coach, everyone described a person deserving of widespread love and attention.
“Her personality and her smile and the way she just lived her life, she just made you love her beyond the goaltender,” said Craig Rosenthal, coach of the Roseville girls’ high school hockey team.
Rosenthal added Roseville hockey teams would be honoring Jones with “JJ 33” patches on their jerseys and stickers on their helmets.
“If we can live like Jori, it’s going to be not only a better hockey team, but a better world,” he said.
Gustavus Adolphus, the defending Division III NCAA national champion, also plans to honor Jones, who would have been a sophomore on the team this year.
“JJ, she is one of the sweetest people I have met. She made everyone feel welcome. She always had the biggest smile on her face,” said Lindsey Bjerke, who graduated from the Gustavus team last year.
“She was the kindest, most gentle human I’ve ever met,” said current Gustavus player, Molly McHugh.
“Jori was a light. She was the brightest soul and she lit up the room every single time she walked into a room,” added Brooke Power, a current Gustavus player, who then added about how the team would move forward: “We need to lean on each other.”
WATCH MORE ON KARE 11+
Download the free KARE 11+ app for Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and other smart TV platforms to watch more from KARE 11 anytime! The KARE 11+ app includes live streams of all of KARE 11's newscasts. You'll also find on-demand replays of newscasts; the latest from KARE 11 Investigates, Breaking the News and the Land of 10,000 Stories; exclusive programs like Verify and HeartThreads; and Minnesota sports talk from our partners at Locked On Minnesota.
Watch more local news:
Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities and across Minnesota in our YouTube playlist: