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Hockey team to play for boys

WASKADA, Man. -- A Manitoba minor hockey team has decided it will finish its season to honour three young teammates 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 they were travelling in went down near their homes in the small community of Waskada.

Experienced pilot 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 Canucks atom team, said after the crash 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."

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

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

The tragedy has devastated the town of 200, located in the southwestern corner of the province. The boys went to the same school and counsellors have been brought in to help students cope with the deaths.

Wickham said he started helping coach the Canucks five years ago and Darren Spence was instrumental in getting the team going.

He said Gage, who played centre, was the team's leading scorer. His younger brother, Logan, was a left-winger.

"He was just that comic relief in the dressing room, that lovable teammate."

Dawson, a defenceman, was quiet but hard-working.

Wickham said the boys' team numbers -- 6, 23 and 77 -- will be pasted on the Canucks players' helmets.

-- The Canadian Press

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