MEET JAYA SCHIPPEL!
Tell us about yourself!
My hockey story may be similar to some young girls. My dad played hockey when he was younger and he enjoyed the game. We moved to Edmonton when I was three and he was not aware there was a girl’s association where I could play hockey. Once he found out about it, it was off to the races. My parents put me in a wide variety of sports to see what I enjoyed and to tell you honestly, I didn’t love hockey when I started. I enjoyed socializing as a young kid. I did not like that I couldn’t just put on skates and be an amazing skater or that I could not get the puck all the time during a game. When you are young, it’s a requirement for players to play each position and one day it was my time to play goalie! I loved it! I got to play the entire game! I didn’t have to shift off. I was making saves and people were cheering and patting me on the pads. I felt like a rock star. I asked my coach if I could play goalie all year. I wasn’t able to all year, but anytime someone couldn’t make their turn my hand was up.
After that initial year, I came back to my second year as a goalie. I was naturally inclined to it at the age of five, but over the last few years I have really been focusing on crafting my skill. It’s definitely a stressful position, but the pressure and excitement keeps it fun. I played girls EGHA hockey for a few years and then joined boys teams and played in the HSL. I am able to create bonds and friendships with all my teammates girls and boys. Last year I came back to MLAC hockey and tried out for the U13 AA team. There were 12 goalies trying out and I was the only girl. I made one of the only two AA teams! Super pumped about that. I am only 12 but am most times playing with older players and that really motivates me. I am using this time to take advantage of all the call outs I receive to come play. I have plans to try out for the 1 MLAC U 15 AAA team this fall. Fingers crossed.
I enjoy getting that call to come out as an under age player and see how I fit in with the big players. I am only 12, but I have been playing all year even through Covid on my ODR, I attend Vimy which has a hockey program and I try to get in as much one on one time as I can with my goalie coach Ian Gordon. I really mesh with Ian a lot, as he never sees me as a girl/ boy goalie but rather just a goalie. I am very fortunate to have had some amazing coaches in my short hockey career who have believed in me and even pushed me to kick some butt as a female on a boys team. I have taken to working out a lot this year, I am now almost 5′ 8″ at the age of 12! I am hoping my size helps me down the road!
What made you want to be a WHL Brand Ambassador?
I have been following the WHL on IG and am motivated by the ambassadors who are posted on there. I wanted to become an ambassador to help any girls who are goalies and to show that girls can be goalies. Girls can play on girls teams, girls can play with the boys, girls can do anything they want. I also want to showcase how hockey has a different side as well.
You can play for competition but you can also play for fun. I have made so many great friends from hockey. I have met my best friend through hockey and often times we are talking about our futures and we can’t wait to go to University to play hockey and maybe one day ultimately represent our country.
What are you most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR?
Reaching out to other girls. Seeing what they do in hockey if they are older than me. See where hockey can take us all. Perhaps playing with some of the girls I meet as an ambassador and help anyone who has questions or issues.
What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
I can juggle, I can solve rubix cubes. I like to draw and I am a big fan of ice cream.
If you could sit down and have dinner with one female hockey player, who would it be and why?
My answer always would be Shannon Szabados. She is from a city very close to me. I have gone to many camps she attended which is so cool and I have been trained by many coaches who trained her. I would love to ask her what she did to set herself apart from others. How she handled the big games where there is a lot on the line. How she trained for the olympics. What her routine is. What she does to reset after a goal. So many questions I can ask her!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in hockey or in life?
What’s your dream for women’s hockey?
I would like to travel the world playing hockey. I would like to play at a DIV 1 NCAA school after high school and play in the olympics. I hear about my parents travelling with sports teams having so much fun when they were young! I would like to do the same. Also, my parents say I can only get a tattoo if I make the olympics so I have that drawn up already! I will take any motivation that works.
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