Jessica Redfield was a go-getter. She never stopped pursuing her dream of becoming a noted sports reporter. She networked through the world of Denver sports media like her hair was on fire. She was likable. She was fun – and at the same time she was darn good at what she did, which was covering the Colorado Avalanche through social media, blogs, and some television.
So when the Flyers decided to create a multimedia internship in her memory following her tragic death last July, it was the intention to find another young, female reporter with a similar drive, contagious spunk and a desire to be the best she can at her craft.
And while there were several great applicants, many of whom could have done the name on the internship proud, there was one applicant who proved to be the cream of that very talented crop.
Danielle Maslany was impressive before she ever showed up at the Flyers offices for her interview.
A senior at Temple University majoring in Broadcast Sports Journalism, Maslany had a strong resume, with a solid background of experience working both on camera and behind it.
A fixture on Owl T.V., Maslany, 26, has also done some work for 2 Sports, a small television and media company in Allentown, close to her Hellertown home.
Although it was obvious just by looking at her YouTube page that she had the on air skills to fill the internship, it was her interview that sealed the deal. She was brimming with personality and a rare confidence for someone so young. She proved to be an outside-the-box type thinker with an impressive creative streak.
Heck, she was even tweeting that she had “a million” ideas that she’d like to pursue the day she first found out she had received the Internship.
“I was very honored to receive the internship,” said Maslany, who started off her collegiate career majoring in education before switching gears and earning an associate’s degree in journalism from Northampton Community College. “Being the first one, I feel like there is a little pressure with this but I’m relishing the opportunity.”
Maslany said the pressure comes from the story behind the internship, since Redfield’s death – she was a victim of the Aurora, Col. movie theatre shooting – was national news and that it drew a lot of attention.
“I got to speak to her mom and her brother and after talking to them I want to do a good job so I can make them proud,” Maslany said. “I want to do such a good job that I set the standard for everyone that follows me in this internship.”
Maslany spoke to Redfield’s mom Sandy Phillips last week, and said that she felt an instant connection with her.
“When I talked to her there was a lot of laughter and a lot of excitement,” Maslany said. “She asked me to think about Jessi while I was going through my experiences and to keep her spirit alive.”
Phillips was amazed to find out how similar Maslany was to her daughter, even coming from the same kind of familial background.
“When I told her that my family knew nothing about sports she stopped me,” Maslany said of Phillips. “She said, ‘That’s amazing, because we knew nothing about sports either.’
“So it’s really amazing that we were both products of non-sports families that ended up being driven to find a career in the world of sports.”
As it turns out, there wasn’t just one conversation between Phillips and Maslany.
Phillips asked Maslany to keep her updated as to what she’s doing on the internship.
After her first day, Maslany sent her photos and text messages and told her about her experience at the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation Celebrity Golf Invitational.
“I thought it was an amazing first day,” Maslany said. “I couldn’t ask for a better first day. The weather was beautiful and to interview players, coaches and alumni about such a great cause was really special.
“When I told Sandy about it, to hear the excitement in her voice about what I was doing and to have her tell me to keep the information coming, it was very touching to me. It’s a relationship I want to grow and maintain not just over the course of the internship but well beyond that. It’s a way to keep Jessi’s memory and her work thriving in the sport of hockey.”