By Ottawa Sportspage, For École secondaire publique Louis-Riel
The training can get intense, but that’s just what Jasmine Nolan and Nadia Fournier crave. The Ottawa Lady 67’s Midget ‘AA’ teammates and members of the Louis-Riel sports-études hockey program love living the kind of lifestyle that prepares them for the next level in the hockey world.
“This is huge,” underlines Nolan, her school’s female student-athlete of the year on multiple occasions. “I don’t know anybody else who has all this.”
“This” is the sports-études program, which sees students receive a phys ed credit while training in a high-performance atmosphere for part of the school day. It includes access to the first-class multi-sport Dome at Louis-Riel, personal training under the watch of Jean-Robert Léger – who has worked with just about any east-end hockey player who’s made it to the pros in recent years, including Louis-Riel grad Erik Gudbranson of the Vancouver Canucks – and, for the hockey program, a bus ride to the rink for afternoon practices 3 days per week.
“With your club team, you’ll work more on systems and teamwork, whereas here, we aren’t a team in sports-études, it’s more individual stuff, more skills,” adds Nolan. “It’s a different side of the game that you obviously need, but that sometimes with your team, you don’t practice.”
The hockey players at Louis-Riel work on-ice with Rockland Nationals head coach Dan Sauvé and Mark Dregas, who recently coached the Rebelles to 4 consecutive OFSAA girls’ hockey medals, including a 2014 title.
“One of our coaches here coaches Jr. ‘A’. I think that’s amazing,” Fournier says of Sauvé. “It gives us the perspective of what it’s like at that level.”
Fournier and Nolan both like the challenge and contrasting style of matching up against the male sports-études players during practice, while also enjoying a close relationship with the other girls in the program.
“It’s special,” signals Nolan, a Grade 10 student. “At first, I didn’t know anyone. But after seeing them every day, and working out with them, and practicing with them, we’ve bonded. We’re really good friends. We’re always together, and helping each other.”
Like many in the program, Fournier and Nolan are both looking to follow in the footsteps of many past Louis-Riel grads, such as Princeton Tigers defender Kimiko Marinacci, and obtain a post-secondary hockey scholarship.
“That’s one of the main reasons I came to this school,” highlights Fournier. “I see how working out every day and being on the ice can help me to achieve my goals, to be stronger, and to be noticed on the ice. And if I go to university and play hockey and study, I feel like this school gives me a good idea of what it’s going to be like in the future.”