Meet Josée Aitken!
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Josée Aitken. I am from a small town called Eyebrow in Saskatchewan, Canada. There, I live on a farm. Currently, I am attending post secondary school at King’s College in Wilkes Barre PA, USA. I am pursing a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science with minors in Chemistry, Biology, and Geography. I hope to follow up with a Masters and maybe even a PhD. At King’s, I play forward for the Monarchs.
I started hockey when I was nine years old. At the time, I had been taking figure skating lessons but after watching my cousin’s hockey game I had asked if I could play hockey. After that I was send home with new hockey sticks and some extra gear. From there, I joined a hockey team and played my first ever game without even a single practice.
In Saskatchewan, the towns and cities are more spread out, so it wasn’t uncommon to travel a lot. For my first two years of hockey I had to travel 30 mins to practices and games, with other games being further away. After that, I played four years of hockey in Moose Jaw, for those, I would have to drive over 45 minutes just for practices and home games, then even further for away games. In my second year of Peewee hockey, I also affiliated with the bantam team in Moose Jaw, once I started doing that, I would practice with my peewee team, and then drive to the next rink to practice with the bantams. There were also times that I would play with my peewee team, and then drive to the next rink or another city to play with the Bantams. I recall playing a game in Moose Jaw with the peewee team, and then as soon as the game finished I got into the car with my gear still on and we drove to Swift Current to play with the Bantams, making it just in time for the opening face-off.
After that, I played three years of AAA hockey in Melville with the Prairie Fire. Melville is three hours away from my home so I stayed with a billeting family there. Now I am in my third year of college hockey. In my first year, it was King’s first ever season for ice hockey. The team was small with 15 players and 11 skaters, but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I still have the best time of my life today.
What made you want to be a WHL Brand Ambassador?
Everyday I watch and feel the struggles of females in sports. It seems like every time there are steps forward there are steps back. I am also a strong believer in the idea of seeing. Through being a WHL ambassador, I can help share sources of females with success so that others can see. Sometimes all that matters is the availability: if she can see, she can dream, she can believe. Now is a better time than ever to step forward in sports and show the power we have. #TheWomensMovementNeverStops
What are you most looking forward to as a #WHLAMBASSADOR?
I am looking forward to seeing more about women in sports, especially hockey, and being able to share it with others so that they may be inspired to play the game or go further.
What’s something not a lot of people know about you?
I actually love reading (for fun), especially when it comes to science fiction books. I also love plants but currently I do not have a lot in my room because it does not get enough light so my roommate is taking care of several of them for me.
If you could sit down and have dinner with one female hockey player, who would it be and why?
This is a hard choice between Marie-Philip Poulin and Meghan Agosta. Marie-Philip Poulin is a powerful forward who I have long time aspired to play like. I remember watching her play in the 2014 Olympics against USA for the gold medal game with a bunch of players that I had just met to play in the Saskatchewan winter games. Watching that entire game was inspiring as the determination and power could be felt in the room. So many people were there watching the TV on a small screen, watching Canada play, but I was watching her.
As for Meghan Agosta, I loved watching her speed on the ice in 2010. She is one player that stood out for me as she was able to use her speed to her advantage to beat the defensemen and score goals. That’s what I loved doing and I wanted to do it just like her. I also remember hearing about her going through police training while many other hockey players were going through training for the Worlds and the Olympics. Even though I was sad not to see her on the ice, I was also inspired of the commitment she had for herself.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in hockey or in life?
I don’t know if is considered advice by my favourite quote is “We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.” This quote is by Rick Yancey in his book The 5th Wave. This quote just speaks levels to me as sometimes it’s not about when or how long you are in a place, but what matters is what you do while you are there and what kind of legacy one leaves behind. If I can leave behind a positive image and influence on women’s hockey, then I want to do that.
What’s your dream for women’s hockey?
My dream for women’s hockey is for females not to be looked down upon in the sport. The 3-on-3 game for Canada/USA in the NHL All Star Competition was a start, but it needs to go further. Maybe one day they will be competing in all of the challenges—we have seen some do it and succeed. Maybe one day these women will be selected to play in the men’s 3-on-3 on the different division teams, that would be great to see. I want these athletes be able to be fully supported so that they don’t have to leave hockey to pursue a career to support themselves. I dream that one day, females will be equal to men.