Growing confidence and independence through the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy

December 15, 2023 10:00 am by Payton Robinson Dynamic Featured Image

In the heart of Winnipeg, a fifth grader from Brooklands Elementary School named Yeshian has been quietly carving her path on the ice for the last two years, thanks to the support system of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA).

For Yeshian, being a member of WJHA is more than strapping on skates and holding a goalie stick.

“With the WJHA, we’re a family. With every practice and game, we create unforgettable memories that bring us closer together. It’s what makes us stronger both on and off the ice,” she shares.

The True North Youth Foundation (TNYF) operates three unique youth-focused programs – the WJHA, Project 11 and Camp Manitou. The WJHA is a comprehensive sport-based program that engages youth in their school and community through hockey.

In addition to her weekly school hockey sessions, Yeshian has also joined the minor hockey team, where she discovered her passion for playing goalie—a position requiring precision, courage, and resilience.

“Being selected to join the minor and WJHA team as a goalie has been an incredible opportunity for me. I’m proud to say that my coaches have already given me a nickname, mini Hellebuyck.”

The WJHA engages 700 student athletes from Grades 4 through 12. Beyond hockey, the program offers afterschool programming, tutoring, career exploration, and a support system of coaches, volunteers and mentors.

Yeshian’s mother Myla recognizes the profound impact the WJHA has had on her daughter and that Yeshian’s journey wouldn’t have been possible without the support of those who have donated their time, funds, or equipment.

“When she joined the WJHA, she became more independent, confident and very responsible as a young person,” said Myla. “Also, I have been able to spend more time with my daughter when taking her to practices and games and have even made new friends along the way.”

As a single mother, Myla acknowledges the program as a gateway for her daughter to fulfill her dream of playing hockey, an opportunity that might have otherwise been a financial challenge. The WJHA helps to break down those barriers by providing equipment, transportation, and lunches at their weekly school day ice times.

As Yeshian continues to pursue her dreams on the ice, her story is just one of many examples of the positive impact the WJHA has on its participants. So much more than hockey, the program fosters personal development, a sense of community and a sense of accomplishment.

From Yeshian and Myla to the True North Youth Foundation’s generous donors: “Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to say, but we are truly thankful from the bottom of our hearts.”

Thanks to the community’s support, TNYF, through fundraising initiatives like Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose 5050, has positively impacted over 111,000 Manitoba youth in the last season.

This year, TNYF looks forward to assisting more WJHA kids with your help.