WJHA creating lasting memories

May 9, 2024 7:00 am by Payton Robinson Dynamic Featured Image

Whether small or monumental, there are moments in every hockey career that hold a special place in our hearts and are reminisced about years after.

Sadie, 13, cherishes the many firsts she has experienced when she joined the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) as a student athlete two and a half years ago.  Her keen interest in the game and dedication to improving earned her a spot on the program’s U13 minor team this season.

“I’ll never forget my first goal,” Sadie reminisced with a smile. “I even ended up with two goals that game.”

It was Sadie’s second tournament playing forward on her WJHA team. Practicing once a week through the school program, she dedicated herself to learning puck handling, tight turns, and crossovers with the help of her WJHA coaches. She was ready. As she skated past the defenders, she took her chance at a shot on net and, to her surprise, it went in.

hockey for all centre filled with cheers and Sadie felt immediate pride in the hard work she had put in.

It’s memories like this that illustrate the power of hockey beyond the game. The True North Youth Foundation offers student athletes the opportunity to learn the value of team and build their own confidence through hockey without the burden on families of worrying about costs or equipment.

“Our coaches make everyone feel included both on and off the ice. Win or lose, they focus on the positives and help us improve for the next challenge,” said Sadie.

A second standout moment came during a game in which her team trailed by two goals in the final period with just four minutes remaining. The coaches rallied the team, urging them to think positively and work together as a team.

“We got confidence in ourselves, and we scored with just a minute left in the game.”

Despite the 3-4 loss, Sadie and her team still left the ice with their heads held high, grateful for the coaches’ encouragement and for instilling belief in each player that they could finish strong.

“After a win or loss, the WJHA has helped me have a good mindset,” said Sadie. “Our coaches make sure to point out the good things we achieve and tell us in a positive way what we need to work on in practice for the next game.”

Sadie is just one of 700 WJHA student athletes learning life lessons and creating long-lasting memories each season.

“My first goal is something I will remember forever.”