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Elmira woman to join the Laurentian Voyageurs hockey team

Jaimee MacDonald was selected to play at Laurentian University next season on the highly competitive Ontario University Athletics (OUA) circuit. [Faisal Ali / The Observer]

Jaimee MacDonald is part of an the ever-growing group of girls and young women joining in and excelling at the quintessential Canadian sport of hockey. The Elmira native grew up on ice, and on completing high school this year, the young player is taking her talents in the arena to the next level.

Starting next season, MacDonald will be heading to Laurentian University, where she will be studying education, and joining the women’s hockey team, the Laurentian Voyageurs, on the highly competitive OUA circuit.

The Elmira athlete has strong roots in the region’s hockey scene. She started at a young age with the Woolwich Wild before moving over to the Waterloo Ravens. Up until the end of this season, MacDonald was playing for the Cambridge Rivulettes, which this year made it to the Provincial Women’s Hockey League final four championship before falling in the bronze-medal game to Nepean.

Besides playing the sport, MacDonald has also spent her time helping younger girls excel at the game as well. MacDonald has spent a fair amount of time coaching, at her job at the Grind Hockey Training Centre and during her time with the Rivulettes.

“I would definitely say it’s becoming more popular amongst girls and I’m really glad to see that because I think growing the girls’ game is huge,” she said.

“That’s something that [the Rivulettes] did really well. As we had girls that we’d go to their practices and help out, and we would have them through our changing room and sign autographs and stuff for them, which was pretty cool. For us too,” she added with a laugh.

It’s perhaps no surprise MacDonald is such a keen player – it’s in her blood, if not her DNA. Playing hockey was how her parents first met, she says, while her sister also has taken to the sport. So hockey, it’s fair to say, is quite a big deal in MacDonald’s family.

“Oh  yeah,” agreed MacDonald with a laugh.

Her grandfather, who is listening to the conversation, also laughs as well, adding: “It runs in the family.”

On her future aspirations in the sport, MacDonald is confident but not cocky. For her, she admits that the dream team would have to be Canada’s Olympic team.

“I think the Olympic team would definitely be amazing to play on just because it’s got such a deep history. Women’s hockey in Canada has always been super strong and that’s such a hard team to make. That will always be the end goal,” she said.

In the meantime, though, MacDonald is happy to be playing for Laurentian University, where she hopes to study to become a gym and science teacher. But whatever happens after Laurentian, whether she moves into an even higher tier or pursues her teaching career, it’s clear that hockey will continue to be a part of her life.

“I think that’s important that sport can help you become a better person. I think that’s a big thing a lot of people don’t realize is: someday the game will end. Someday you won’t be able to play anymore. And it’s what you take out of that that matters.”

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