A unique mentorship program adds fuel to a Coquitlam hockey player’s fire to take her game to the next level.
Jordan Baxter is one of 21 young women from across Canada who have been selected to participate in the first Scotia Rising Teammates initiative linking them with top female and national team players to learn and take inspiration from their travels.
“I know how powerful it was for me to meet female hockey players and role models when I was younger,” said Natalie Spooner, one of the mentors, of the Canadian national team player.
The four-week program includes weekly virtual meetings with speakers such as players and coaches, as well as one-on-one Zoom conversations with their mentor.
Baxter is linked to Sarah Nurse, who won a silver medal with the Canadian women’s team at the 2018 Winter Olympics and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Badgers hockey program. She said their conversations have been invaluable in showing her a path forward in the game.
“It’s just super useful in every aspect of my hockey career,” said Baxter, who started playing in the Tri-City Predators association 11 years ago and is currently pursuing an academy program in North Delta high school where she plays U18 Prep. .
Baxter said that as she grew up on other sports, such as soccer and field and box lacrosse, hockey quickly emerged because of the close community feel, especially in the women’s associations. She said that because of the relatively small number of young women playing competitively, everyone knows everyone and friendships are formed quickly, even with rivals.
“Everyone is connected,” she said. “They are all one in the hockey community.”
Baxter, a center, said that as she rose through the hockey ranks, she began to take charge of other players she knows who compete at a high level, such as Port Moody’s Jenna Buglioni, who played for Canada’s national junior team and just finished. was with her freshmen. season at Ohio State University.
But it was inspiring to connect with some of the female hockey stars.
Baxter said there were many conversations with the mentors about leadership and the important role a good person can play in becoming a better hockey player.
“It is not your skill on the ice that will take you to your goal,” she said. “You never know who might be watching.”
The mentoring program, which also includes a $ 1,000 donation to each participant’s team, is both about keeping young women in hockey and cultivating the next generation of stars. According to a study by the Aspen Institute, girls stop exercising twice as often as boys by age 14. The US-based Sports and Society program cites factors such as limited scholarship opportunities, too few role models, as well as planning and equipment that favor boys as some of the factors responsible for the drop-off.
Baxter said she’s already watching college programs south of the border and hopes to one day compete for Canada. She said her conversations with the mentors, as well as the connections she made with some of the other participants in the program, showed her that those goals are within reach.
“This is a great opportunity,” she said.