By Mark Staffieri, Senior Staff Writer
With a combination of gratitude and enthusiasm, Canada’s National Women’s Team alumna Brianne Jenner holds a highly positive outlook on the game. Graciously giving her time as a volunteer for the Grindstone Foundation, Jenner is proud of the opportunities that it allows players and their families to get into the game.
Having spent the 2019-20 season with the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), one of the best things that has recently happened to the game, it has spurred Jenner’s ambitions for the future. Dreaming of a professional league that will be prosperous, consisting of a living wage, large arenas, television coverage and merchandising, Jenner sees it as a matter of when, not if, the top players in the female game will be visible playing hockey at the highest level.
Jenner spoke with OFFSIDE: The Podcast hosts Rhonda Taylor Dave Briglio and Kristen Lipscombe recently on a wide range of topics. Although Jenner holds a “veteran” status on Team Canada, the youthful forward aspires for many more exciting years. Such years also involve finding a way to give back to the game.
Dedicated to spending her off-season operating her own hockey academy, it resulted in a dream job for Jenner. Having started in her hometown of Oakville, Ont., it expanded down the Queen Elizabeth Way to St. Catharines, demonstrating the growing popularity of her academy.
As life came to a complete stop due to the pandemic, an unprecedented happening, Jenner found herself stuck at home. The idea for a virtual camp emanated from the fact that training from home was a little tougher. When training at the rink, Jenner always found that others around her served as a source of motivation. While Jenner and her teammates would get together every Saturday, the concept of developing an online community served as the foundation to develop a virtual camp.
In spite of the fact that Jenner made the difficult decision to cancel the July 2020 camp for Oakville, a virtual alternative brought with it many unforeseen, yet enjoyable, advantages. Perhaps the most important was that five players from Grindstone that were part of a Zoom webinar.
Although a virtual setting cannot duplicate the experience, and thrill, of being on-ice, a significant benefit was the fact that the virtual camp allowed for affordability and accessibility. With players from Europe among the virtual attendees, a wider audience was not constrained by geographic limitations. Held from Aug. 10-14, the virtual camp involved players ages 6 through 10 participating in skills development in mornings. The afternoons were dedicated to players ages 11 through 15, part of a performance camp.
Among the guest coaches involved were the likes of Randi Milani, a skating development coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, leading a hockey yoga session. Invited as a guest speaker, Sommer Christie, a Hockey Canada mental performance coach, shared her insights on developing mental skills and optimizing performance.
In addition, there were no shortage of teammates from Jenner’s career on-hand. Blueliner Erin Ambrose has played alongside Jenner on Team Canada, and led a stickhandling session online. Former Cornell Big Red teammate Emily Fulton, a registered dietitian, provided nutritional advice. Having skated with Jenner on the Calgary Inferno’s Clarkson Cup championship team, Blayre Turnbull was involved with an off-ice workout, focused on developing power for skating.
Learn more about Jenner and her hockey academy experiences by re-listening to the OFFSIDE podcast here: https://www.spreaker.com/user/10106966/offside-18-brianne-jenner_1
And find out more about Jenner’s hockey academy here: http://briannejenner.com/hockey-academy/