RED DEER – This month’s Alumni Spotlight focuses on Jess Healey, formerly of the Edmonton Thunder.
Jess grew up playing minor hockey in Edmonton after learning to skate at 3-4 years old. Her family has a history of hockey, so she felt like she was born into the game. She grew up playing hockey with her brother Josh and was coached by her father Tim throughout her minor hockey career.
After playing for Edmonton SWAT until U13, Jess moved on to play two years of U15 AAA with the Edmonton Lightning, and three seasons of U18 AAA with the Edmonton Thunder. Jess received attention from south of the border and eventually would go on to play four years in NCAA Division I with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Following her university career, she has moved on to play professionally in Sweden for HV71.
“Minor hockey taught me the basic skills for on and off the ice that prepared me for higher levels. It taught me how to interact with different players and coaches. It also taught me respect, competitiveness, and the importance of being part of a team,” said Jess. “Hockey has also allowed me to travel and see the world, which is something I am extremely grateful for. I have been able to play and meet people in many different places.”
While Jess has had terrific success in the rink, including two years playing with team Alberta, and winning a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 U18 Women’s World Championship, some of her favourite memories include getting out in the winter to skate around on a lake or outdoor rink.
Even with a busy schedule as a professional hockey player, Jess still finds time to continue her education, as she is finishing her Master’s degree in Psychology online. Her advice to young players is to enjoy every moment that they get to play the game because hockey is intended to be fun and enjoyable.
“The friendships I have made and the memories on and off the ice have been incredible,” said Jess. “Hockey has allowed me to receive an education, travel the world, meet new people, and make connections for me future.”