Remembering where it all started – WJHA student grateful for program’s impact on and off the ice

March 14, 2019 2:44 pm by sparker

A hard worker, a team player, and someone who is always eager to keep learning; these are only a few of the attributes that can be used to describe WJHA student Ron.

Ron, who joined the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) at an older age than most, first saw the ice in Grade 5 at Buchanan Elementary school. Ron had never played hockey before but quickly became comfortable with skating after only a few sessions. By the end of Grade 5, Ron already wanted to try playing goalie and was determined to prove he could do it.

“He instantly was goalie material,” said coach Alex Kampen.

Since then, Ron has never left the crease and has shown steady improvement. Moving over to Hedges Middle School for Grade 6, Ron joined the St. James Assiniboia Hockey Academy (SJAHA) through its partnership with the WJHA. The partnership allows him to be part of a school program where students earn a physical education credit for their participation.

Always willing to learn more, Ron watches “only the best” goalies from the NHL on YouTube to see how he can improve himself.

“I like seeing all their cool warm-ups and how they prepare for a game.”

To this day, Ron has been working tirelessly to succeed in his hockey career. This effort allowed him to join one of the WJHA’s minor teams in 2016 where he played for two seasons at the A3 level. With his continuous improvement and stellar play, Ron decided in the Fall of 2018 that it was time to try out for the St. James A1 Canucks. This turned out to be a great decision as he made the team on his first try. Right from the start Ron settled in and once comfortable, got the courage to ask his new A1 coach if it would be okay if he wore the WJHA logo on his game jerseys.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of the True North Youth Foundation,” noted Ron.

The coach instantly said yes and now Ron is proud to be representing the True North Youth Foundation (TNYF) and WJHA every time he plays. Closing out the 2018-19 season, Ron hasn’t missed a beat, going
7-0 in 2019. A strong athlete on and off the ice, Ron has seen improvements in the classroom as well.

“While I’m in school, the True North Youth Foundation has helped me stay focused and prepared. I never used to have good grades but since being a part of the TNYF, I have been doing great in class.”

Ron has become more engaged in his classes and is now prepared, determined and excited for his first year of high school.

Q & A with Ron C

What do you like about the True North Youth Foundation?

I like the staff because they are very nice and helpful. I like that the TNYF pays for my ice time so I can develop my skills in hockey. What I like most about the TNYF is their activities outside of school including Camp Manitou, field trips, and of course, ice sessions.

What has been your favourite memory since joining the WJHA?

My favourite memory in the WJHA was when I got my first win as a goalie.

If you had to tell people one part about the foundation, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

I would tell them that this is a great chance for you to start your hockey career, make friends, and do well in school.

What is one thing you are proud of since joining?

I am proud to play hockey and I am proud to achieve my goals and develop my skills on the ice and in the classroom. I was inspired to be the best I can with all the support that has been given to me from the TNYF.

We are fortunate, grateful and excited to continue to watch Ron grow each year! We cannot wait to see what the future has in store for him!