One of three goaltenders with the New York Riveters, the chance to stand between the pipes represents a special opportunity for Jenny Scrivens. Not only does it allow her a chance to return to the game that she loves as a player (having coached for several seasons), it provides with her a remarkable appreciation of the camaraderie that defines the life of an athlete.
“Being part of a team again is something I never realized I was missing in my life. Maybe I took it for granted before, but now that I’m back in the game, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to encourage my teammates and help us grow together as a team.”
An exceptionally talented athlete who won a national ice hockey champion in 2005 playing with her twin sister on the Cal Selects U19 AA team, she was also a four-year letterwinner in doubles tennis at Rio Mesa.
Of note, the Riveters do not represent Scrivens’ first experience competing in New York State. Having joined the Ivy League’s Cornell Big Red in autumn 2006, she was known back then as Jenny Niesluchowski, her maiden name.
While Scrivens currently occupies a back-up role to Riveters starting goatlender Nana Fujimoto, she also makes an important contribution off the ice. With strong credentials as a former director of communications for Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton, she has taken on a similar role with the NWHL, displaying remarkable dedication.
The chance to be part of such an exciting chapter in American hockey, complemented by a group of women that love the game has also resulted in a unique yet pleasant encounter for Scrivens,
“I do communications and PR for the league in addition to playing in goal for the Riveters. It’s really fun for me to be able to wear two hats and see how the league functions from the inside. I’m able to take that information and help raise awareness through my voice as a player.
My favorite moment so far was when a teammate asked me for guidance on social media. She wanted to grow her online presence in order to get more fans to games. Pretty cool!”
At the time that Scrivens joined Cornell, the program was building towards its current status as a national powerhouse, led by head coach Doug Derraugh. As a freshman, she would start 8 games while logging her first career shutout and win in the same game, a December 2, 2006 victory against the Union Dutchwomen. Coincidentally, recent Union graduate Shenae Lundberg is the other goalie on the Riveters roster.
In her sophomore season, she competed in 24 games, recording an impressive 53 saves in a valiant performance against Harvard during the ECAC Quarterfinals. During her time at Cornell, she did have the opportunity to play alongside the likes of Amanda Mazzotta, Rebecca Johnston, Catherine White and Melanie Jue. In addition, Kim Insalaco, a member of the US bronze medal team from Torino 2006 also served on the coaching staff.
Of note, Cornell also provided her with the opportunity to meet her future husband, Ben Scrivens. While at Cornell, the native of Spruce Grove, Alberta would post 65 wins and accumulate over 3,000 saves. Coincidentally, both wore number 30 while they played for Cornell.
The fact that his wife is now a professional goalie herself sets a new record of sorts. Ben and Jenny Scrivens are now the first married couple to both play professional hockey. While such a historic first is a point of pride, Jenny acknowledges that his encouragement was a key factor, especially as she relocated to New York for the season.
“My husband and I first met when we were both goalies at Cornell, so having hockey in common is nothing new. But now we’re both professional goalies, and I think the reality of it is still sinking in. I love that he’s able to give me advice and pointers when I ask for them, but it’s not something that dominates discussions at the dinner table.
We pride ourselves on finding balance between hockey and normal life, so we make an effort to pursue interests outside of hockey. I love having his support, both with his advice about goaltending and how to be a professional athlete, as well as his support in encouraging me to take this leap to move to New York.”
Having made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 3, 2011, Ben would later set an NHL record for most saves in a regular season shutout with 59. Eventually traded to the Los Angeles Kings as part of a package deal for goaltender Jonathan Bernier, the trade would take on a new life.
Martine Forget, Bernier’s fiancee, and Scrivens were both cast members in the first season of W Network’s reality series “Hockey Wives.” Although Scrivens shall not appear in the second season, due to her commitments with the Riveters, it portrayed the player’s spouses as strong women.
While Scrivens remains humble about the celebrity status that resulted from the series, there is no question that there is a strong feeling of support for her. Between the cast members, and the friends that she has made with families from the Oilers, where Scrivens has worked with The Oilers Foundation and their admirable #HockeyTalks initiative, the result was a feeling of confidence and empowerment. It is one that Scrivens hopes she can instill among the young fans that shall be supporting the NWHL.
“My hockey family has been extremely supportive of my new hockey career! The women from the show were so excited for me. They probably know better than anybody about the sacrifices that professional athletes make. They know how important this is to me and reached out to offer words of encouragement.
The Oilers’ families were very supportive of my decision. They called to tell me they all got together to live-stream the Riveters first game October 11. I was immediately overwhelmed with the outpouring of support.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credit: NWHL and Troy Parla