Cops, firefighters pack stands at youth hockey game to support fallen officer’s son

Posted at 5:29 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 23:22:13-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – An inspirational hockey game took place in West Valley City Saturday afternoon, and in the end it wasn't about winning or losing, it was about being there for one another.

One of the players was 13-year-old Jack Barney, the son of Officer Douglas Barney, who was killed in the line of duty. Hundreds of community members, including many law enforcement personnel from various agencies, packed the Acord Ice Rink to support Jack and remember officer Barney.

"The reason that we are all here today is to honor a hero, a man who was our friend," said Lt. Lex Bell as he stood on center ice and asked for a moment of silence in Barney's honor before the game.

Then it was time for everyone to turn their attention to Jack.

"Just wanting Jack to know he has another branch to his family, and it's a hockey family, and once you start hockey you have a hockey family for life," said Lyndi Morier.

Jack said he wanted to play his best for his dad.

"I'm going to be thinking about him whenever I look up in the crowd, and try making as many goals or as many assists as I can, just for him," Jack said.

Jack went on to score a crucial goal in the third period to help his team win 4 to 3. Mrs. Barney watched from the bleachers, where she spent so many Saturday afternoons sitting alongside her husband.

"Doug would love this," Erika Barney said. "I can't imagine what his exact words would be, but to see all his brothers and sisters here in blue supporting his son, there is nothing else that is more important to him."

Erika said there couldn't be a more fitting way to remember Doug than a hard-fought hockey game. He would often come right from work and watch the games, while still in uniform.

"He was always the loudest, yelling maniac out there, but it was just something fun that we did together as a family," Erika said.

Jack said this game is just a small window into what life has been like for his family over the past week.

"I really like all the community support there has been, so much going on for us, everyone has been coming out and coming to my house and saying thank you for my dad's service," Jack said.

The Barney family said this game was an important step when it comes to moving forward after such a tragedy.

"I don't know if it will be smooth sailing from here on out, I know it will be hard, but we're just going to try and take one day at a time," Erika said.