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Ashley Ryan, wife of fallen EPS officer, drops puck at charity game for mental health

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Wearing her husband's police jacket, Ashley Ryan walked to centre ice at a charity hockey game in Spruce Grove, Alta., Wednesday night.

She, a paramedic, then dropped the puck on the matchup that Brett was planning to referee.

Ryan and his partner Travis Jordan, both constables with Edmonton Police Service, were shot and killed last Thursday morning while responding to a family dispute.

Brett was an official last year at the Battle for the Badges, an event that raises money for mental-health programs for first responders and soldiers.

"It's been a tough week…He was a community-minded person. First person to give you the shirt off his back and he just wanted to help others," said friend and event organizer Miles Valiquette.

Although Brett was not someone who loved attention, Valiquette said he would be honoured to see the support he received at the game, which aimed to raise $10,000.

Firefighter Cole Hoeber had tears in his eyes when he spoke about the loss of Ryan and the week it's been for emergency workers.

"[This year] I think it's definitely a bit more important. It makes you think a little bit more about the job we do, the importance it is and the different sacrifices we make along our careers," he told CTV News Edmonton.

"I think [the event is] really coming together. It's going to be something special."

Ashley Ryan (right), wife of fallen EPS officer Brett Ryan, at a charity hockey game for mental health programs in Spruce Grove, Alta., on March 22, 2023. (CTV News Edmonton)

A moment of silence for Ryan and Jordan was also observed before the game between the U18AA PAC Saints and a team of local RCMP officers and firefighters.

Hundreds attended the event at the Grant Fuhr Arena, about 15 kilometres west of Edmonton.

"It's really good to see the community pulling together. Part of mental health is that social connection, so it's really good to see the number of people that have come out tonight," said RCMP Insp. Kevin McGillivray.

"Policing, just like all the other emergency services, we are quite a big family…But another big part of that is interacting with community members. So it really is great for our members to come out and see the support we have from the public."

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Legacy Place Society, which offers confidential peer support and user-friendly resources to first responders and military personnel.

A regimental funeral for the officers is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. at Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Matt Woodman

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