WJHA coach Jaclyn Fraser gives students the perfect example of giving it your all

March 21, 2022 9:00 am by Jason Friesen Dynamic Featured Image

Giving 110 percent is a familiar concept to hockey players to the point that it’s become a cliché answer for many NHLers during interviews. The concept isn’t foreign to youth in the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) either, as the program strives to instill that value every day both on and off the ice.

That message doesn’t just sink in with kids because WJHA coaches and tutors encourage their students to give it their all in school and in hockey; it hits home because the coaches constantly exemplify it for them. WJHA Academic Performance Coordinator Jaclyn Fraser, who spends a large amount of her time tutoring students in the program, does that as well as anyone.

“Jaclyn cares deeply for the students she tutors and goes above and beyond to ensure students achieve academic success,” said her colleague, WJHA Manager, Academic Performance Jennifer McAlpine. “On several occasions, Jaclyn has spent an entire day committed to helping a student and encouraging them to do the extra work to ensure they receive their credit. She has worked until 10 p.m. with students to help them complete and submit their missing assignments. One day this winter, Jaclyn was driving to the Iceplex with several students for a tutoring session, but the roads were so horrible that they couldn’t make it there safely. Instead, she spent the day tutoring the students at the neighbouring Tim Hortons.”

Clearly, Fraser is a prime example that to achieve your goals and find success, giving 110 percent can’t just happen when you want it to – that effort at times needs to come after-hours or in places you least expect. Though working until 10 p.m. or out of a coffee shop for a whole day may be challenging, it’s obvious that Fraser’s efforts aren’t a waste of her, or the students’ time.

“She’s helped me with new ways to study and do my work faster,” said Taijah, a Grade 9 WJHA student. “She shows me skills in math and how to break down the questions and take it one step at a time. I feel more confident with writing tests and doing projects because of Jaclyn’s help.”

“I feel less stressed about school,” added Ann Maria, a Grade 8 student. “I also have learned skills about how to complete assignments from attending tutoring sessions and getting help from my coaches. Now, I have less homework that I need help with every week because I am more confident in completing my schoolwork on my own.”

The very intentional by-product of spending so much time together is building strong relationships with the youth she works with.

“Jaclyn has the ability to immediately form positive connections with WJHA students,” said McAlpine. “She has a very calm energy that allows students to immediately trust her and feel comfortable around her. As long as students are willing to show up, Jaclyn will support them to achieve academic success.”

That’s seen in both her patience with helping kids understand the concepts they learn in class, as well as through encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone at the WJHA and at school according to Taijah and Ann Maria.

“Jaclyn really knows what to say and understands how to answer my questions or concerns,” noted Taijah. “She doesn’t get frustrated and never gives up on me. If I don’t know how to answer a question, she knows how to teach it to me in a way I understand.”

“Jaclyn has been a big influence in my life. She encourages me to put myself out there. I might fail or succeed, but no matter what, she’s always there to help.”

Of particular importance for young girls like Taijah and Ann Maria is that Jaclyn is a female role model. To see her, along with the numerous other inspiring female coaches of the WJHA, aiding students on the ice shows the girls of the program that hockey really is for everyone. But having a female mentor who can relate to the girls off the ice is crucial for them too in making them feel heard and supported throughout their childhood and teen years.

“I feel like some girls may feel more comfortable talking to the girl coaches instead of guy coaches,” said Taijah. “I feel like I can tell them a lot. The female coaches understand what we have been through.”

As important as understanding assignments and finding success in school may be for the students, being understood by caring coaches and mentors will help these young girls find success far beyond any schoolwork or hockey drill – and that’s easily worth the 110 percent effort.