"We saw a lot of Jessica's qualities in her," said Brian Smith, the Flyers' manager of broadcasting and media services.
Ever since Maslany began working for the Flyers, the Temple senior has been in frequent contact with Redfield's mother, Sandy Phillips, on Twitter and Facebook, in e-mails, and on the phone.
"We keep in touch," Phillips said from her home in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday. "I asked her to keep me posted and to send me pictures of what she's doing. We've established a nice relationship."
Phillips, 62, executive director with a Texas tourism organization, paused.
"It's nice to see someone with the same drive and passion my daughter had," she said. "I think she and Jessi would have gotten along quite well."
'An extra boost'
From all accounts, Redfield, 24, was a hockey die-hard; she knew the ins and outs of the game and liked to take a unique slant when writing a story. Example: She once wrote a piece comparing each NHL team to the different types of men that women date, putting teams in categories ranging from "Hot Guy with No Brains" (the Flyers) to "Boy Next Door" (Colorado Avalanche) to "Fresh Meat" (Winnipeg Jets).
"She had a way of spinning things to make it more interesting," said Phillips, proudly.
Her daughter's real last name was Ghawi, but she used "Redfield" professionally to pay homage to her late grandmother, who had aspired to be a journalist before her career path changed when World War II broke out. Phillips is divorced from Jessica's biological father and is remarried to Lonnie Phillips.
At the time of her death, Redfield was doing an internship with three media outlets, working as a waitress, and taking classes at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She would have graduated this December, and Phillips said the college is going to award her daughter a degree posthumously.
Phillips said she and her husband have decided not to attend the graduation ceremony because it will be held in a theater. Her daughter and 11 others died and 58 were injured in the July 20 shooting during a Batman movie in Aurora, Colo.
"I don't ever think I'll be able to step foot in a theater," Phillips said. "And being around families celebrating with their children . . . and ours is dead. I just can't do that."
But she is in the middle of several activities surrounding her daughter and is working through the red tape to put together a substantial scholarship fund for women who want to get into sports broadcasting.
"We're doing it because it's a very difficult career path for women," Phillips said, "and this will be an extra boost."
Phillips wants to keep her daughter's vibrant spirit alive. She said the Flyers have helped keep her momentum going with the internship. Several NHL teams, she said, have talked about doing something to honor Jessi.
"But the Flyers are the first ones to get it done," she said. "Unfortunately, there's a lockout, and I feel so sorry for Danielle. She has this wonderful opportunity - and now there's this lockout."
Even with the NHL shut down, the Flyers are keeping Maslany busy. She is writing a blog for the team's website - though it gets tricky because she is not allowed to mention any Flyers by name during the lockout. She recently did a radio commercial for Wawa, one of the Flyers' sponsors, edited footage for the team's website, and interviewed several players and head coach Peter Laviolette at a pre-lockout charity golf tournament.
"I'm just grateful for the opportunity," said Maslany, a Quakertown native, before doing some public relations duties on Saturday for the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, during the first day of training camp in Voorhees.
Maslany, who is majoring in broadcast sports journalism at Temple and anchors a show for OwlSports, said Phillips gave her a pep talk of sorts the other day.
"She told me, 'Remember that this opportunity is because of Jessi. Just think of her, and I just ask that you stay in contact.' "
Said Maslany, "I want to make her family proud."
Lots of tears
Early last week, Phillips and her husband were having a difficult time. Some days are better than others. Some days, the holes in their hearts seem to be expanding.
"We spent a lot of time in tears today," Phillips said in a phone interview Tuesday, "but then three of Jessi's friends came over, and we talked about Jessi and laughed, and it helped."
One of the friends, Brent Lowak, was with Redfield the horrific night as moviegoers watched The Dark Knight Rises before a gunman opened fire. Lowak, who was wounded by a gunshot and tried desperately to assist his longtime friend, phoned Phillips from the movie complex as screams could be heard in the chaotic background.
"He called from the theater to tell me she was gone," Phillips said, adding she considers Lowak "a true hero."
A little more than a month before she was killed, Redfield survived a shooting that killed one person and injured several others at a Toronto mall. She reflected on that near-death experience on her blog, writing, in part, "I know how blessed I am for each second I am given" and that life shouldn't be taken for granted. "Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift."
Before moving to Denver to pursue a sportscasting job last year, Redfield interned at a San Antonio TV station and interviewed Chris Summers, a minor-league hockey player.
It was her first pro hockey interview - she did it on the ice, wearing a dress and high heels - and nearly her last.
"She fell three times," Phillips said.
After the interview, "She called me from her car, crying. She was mortified," Phillips said. "She said, 'No one will ever take me seriously again! I made a complete fool of myself!' "
A short while later, Phillips watched the video - it became an Internet sensation and can be viewed here - and "roared with laughter. I called her and told her, 'Jessi, this is going to make your career. It shows your tenacity and your ability to laugh at yourself, and that's so important in the industry you've chosen.' "
Maslany enjoyed the video.
"It was classic," she said with a smile. "It showed her personality. I might attempt an interview with heels on the ice. Give it a whirl and see how hard it is."
Redfield, who grew up in San Antonio, was thriving in her work and making connections in the industry as she blogged about the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. Along the way, she wanted to help the Colorado children whose homes and belongings were destroyed by wildfires earlier in the summer.
A few weeks ago, in the parking lot of the Avalanche's arena, volunteers carried out her idea, collecting more than 25,000 donated sporting goods and $40,000 in cash as a way to help the kids return to normalcy.
Meanwhile, donations for many scholarships in Redfield's memory have flowed in from all around the world.
"To have something horrible happen and then see all the good in people has renewed our faith and helped the healing process a lot," Phillips said.
She knows that even though her daughter is not here, the irrepressible redhead is making an impact. She is helping children whose lives were turned upside down after fires destroyed their homes and belongings, and she is helping women such as Maslany find their place in the sports media world.
"I told her, 'Make sure Jessi's dreams come true,' " Phillips said.
To make a donation to the Redfield Foundation, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/OfficialJessicaRedfieldFund.
Flyers intern Danielle Maslany talks about her connection to Jessica Redfield, who was killed in the Colorado movie massacre in July, at
Contact Sam Carchidi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BroadStBull on Twitter.