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Courtenay Jacklin Embodies Empowering Meaning of Being a Student-Athlete

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Having established herself as an on-ice leader for the Queen’s Golden Gaels, providing solid play-making abilities and a knack for finding the back of the net, Coutenay Jacklin has emerged as an integral component of the team’s leadership core. Donning number 10, she has appeared in over 80 games and accumulated over 50 career points with the Golden Gaels.

Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, where she once captured the Esso Cup as a member of the prestigious Notre Dame Hounds of Athol Murray College, the 2015-16 season found Jacklin ranking third in team scoring  and in the top 25 in the OUA scoring race. When Jacklin logged at least one point, the Golden Gaels went 7-1-0. Compiling five multi-point performances, her finest took place on January 23 against the Laurier Golden Hawks as she logged four points in a 5-2 final. She would also log two game winning goals during the season, including one on the road against the defending national champion Western Mustangs on November 27, 2015.

While Jacklin enjoyed a season that established her as a key member of the offensive unit, she was also recognized for another series of exceptional accomplishments. Capturing the OUA’s Marion Hilliard Award of Merit, recognizing excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement, she was one of four members of Queen’s roster to gain postseason honors.

Teammate Katrina Manoukarakis was recognized as the OUA’s Rookie of the Year, the first Golden Gaels player since 2006-07 to gain the honor. In addition, team captain Mary Coughlin and goaltender Caitlyn Lahonen earned nods to the OUA Second Team All-Stars.

Jacklin’s efforts in the community were nothing short of sensational. In having the honor of the award bestowed upon her, she was recognized for volunteering at the Kingston General Hospital and with Skate Canada’s Special Olympics Figure Skating.  Among her admirable efforts has included an effort to raise awareness about the environment and work towards ensuring that a sustainable future, as she is also part of Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change.

“It was definitely an honour to be recognized.  I have a lot of fun with everything I am involved with, so to be recognized just for doing what I love to do was really neat. 

I have been fortunate to be part of a hockey program that encourages its athletes to get involved in the community and I’m extremely grateful to have such supportive teammates and coaches.”

Equally accomplished in the classroom, Jacklin, who is a major in Biology, with a minor in Spanish, holds the highest Grade Point Average of any varsity female student-athlete at Queen’s, highlighted by spots on the Dean’s Honors List from 2012-15. Such achievement complements other honors in Jacklin’s distinguished academic career such as the university’s Principal’s Scholarship, the John Brooks Foundation Scholarship and the Wallace Near Prize In Biology, recognized for academic achievement.

During her freshman season, Jacklin’s academic pursuits also included a general science course. Adding said course to her curriculum would prove to be a key turning point, as it augmented discussion and stimulated her interest in taking a more active role.

As Jacklin reveals, this keen interest eventually led her to another corner of Canada, gaining a new perspective on the work involved towards environmental causes. With her studies enlightening her towards the admirable cause of preserving the environment, it proved to be highly visceral. Venturing into the Yukon during the hockey off-season, it was an opportunity for Jacklin to truly take an active role 

“I have always enjoyed hiking, camping, and anything outdoors.  I started university taking general science courses and found introductory courses on ecology interesting, but also disheartening.  I found myself leaving lectures almost angry after learning about the different environmental problems we have created, which really encouraged me to look further into these issues on my own.

For the past two summers I have worked as a research assistant in a biogeography lab.  Based out of a small research station in the southwest Yukon, I was able to learn about many different areas of research. Just being a part of the dynamic at the research station really peaked my interest in the relationship between scientific research and government policy, especially with respect to environmental policy.”

While Jacklin is reputed as a tireless worker on the ice, striving towards helping her team reaching its collective goals, her courage was equally exceptional off the ice. Displaying courageous conviction, Jacklin had a piece on divestment published in the Queen’s Journal.

Although the focus was not to sway one’s views in favor or against divestment, Jacklin was dedicated towards ensuring that the facts were presented. Among them were the health concerns that develop from climate change and the potential negative impact in the future concerning the use of fossil fuels.

“Overall, I think the response was positive, but I recognize that there are a lot of people who disagree with divestment.  My goal was not to argue for or against divestment, but to point out some of the flaws in the university’s response to the divestment proposal. 

While the proposal focused on the social issues related to climate change on a regional and global scale, the University’s response included information on the donations the university receives from the oil and gas sector – information that I would consider irrelevant in an assessment of whether the oil and gas sector should be held accountable for their contribution to global climate change. 

I have been involved with the divestment movement at Queen’s because it is an interesting way to force the university administration to make a statement on climate action, not because I think it is the most effective tool for addressing the issue.  For this reason, I doubt that anyone could effectively argue that the university shouldn’t have a role in addressing climate change.”

Taking into account that Queen’s is the host school for the 2017 CIS Nationals, it brings Jacklin’s career full circle. As a freshman, Jacklin showed her prodigious skills, as she led the Golden Gaels (who finished 20-4-2) in goals, also making an impact in the playoffs. Not only did she score the goal that eliminated Windsor, she would also score in the final game of the OUA playoffs.

Such an overall effort culminated with an appearance in the CIS nationals, the second in program history. Competing against the defending national champion Calgary Dinos, Jacklin would score in a visceral 5-4 overtime loss. Reflecting humbly on such a magical season, it represented a seminal moment in Jacklin’s career. As she is destined to return to such a stage next spring, it may represent a proud pinnacle for her, as her maturity and leadership skills have only blossomed, making her a tremendous asset in the university’s sporting community,   

“It was extremely special. At the time I don’t think I appreciated just how difficult it is to make it to the CIS nationals.  I thought it would be the first of many appearances over my university career.  After coming out on the losing side of some close playoff games in the past few seasons I have really realized what an incredible opportunity it was.  The experience was definitely one of the highlights of my university career.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Image obtained from: http://www.notredame.ca/news/2997 

To learn more on Jacklin’s piece on divestment, please visit: http://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2016-02-08/opinions/Queens-rethink-divestment/

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