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Friday, March 22
Updated: March 24, 12:41 PM ET
GM MacLean attends funeral service

Associated Press

WEST ALEXANDRIA, Ohio -- The mourners wore red and white school jackets, and a tape of the fight song echoed through the funeral home in tribute to 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil.

The honor student was buried Friday, six days after she was hit by a puck while attending her first hockey game.

Family and friends remembered Brittanie Cecil during a funeral service Friday.

Several hundred friends and relatives crowded the stone and wooden frame funeral home outside this town of 1,500 people.

Some children arrived wearing the jackets of Twin Valley South middle school, where Brittanie was an eighth-grader, cheerleader, soccer player and student council member. Others wore buttons bearing her photograph.

Brittanie died Monday, two days after a deflected shot by Blue Jackets center Espen Knutsen struck her during a game against Calgary in Columbus. She was the first fan ever killed at an NHL game.

Brittanie would have turned 14 Wednesday. Her father had bought the tickets as an early birthday present.

"She was very excited about it," uncle Paul Ulrich said at Fairview Cemetery.

At Barnes Funeral Home, a large photo of Brittanie sat above a silver casket covered with red and white carnations. During the hour-long service, a tape was played of the fight song performed by the school's marching band, and mourners sang "Amazing Grace" and "Lean on Me."

Ulrich said the family had received support from friends and strangers.

"It shows that Brittanie was a beautiful young girl and was able to touch everyone's heart," he said. "It shows the love that she had on this earth hopefully will be carried forward."

Doug MacLean, general manager of the Blue Jackets, represented the team and the NHL at the funeral.

The Blue Jackets lost to the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Thursday night, their first game at Nationwide Arena since Brittanie's death.

On the backs of their helmets, players from both teams wore heart-shaped stickers bearing Brittanie's initials. Flags outside the arena were at half-staff.

Before the puck dropped, there was a moment of silence. The only sound was that of strobe lights that flashed every few seconds.

After the game, Knutsen said one game won't erase the memory of her death.

"Of course, I'm the one that took the shot," he said. "I'm the one who has to live with that."

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