Jamielynn Donaldson’s biggest contributions don’t jump off a scoresheet, but ask her teammates and they will tell you how valuable the defenceman is to the UPEI Panthers.
“She’s unreal to play with because she’s so calm,” said her defensive partner Keirstin Visser. “You can always rely on her. If I screw up, I know that she’s going to have my back.”
Donaldson, a fifth-year blue-liner, has two assists in eight games while wearing the C for the women’s hockey team this season.
“I learned early on that I was not going to be a talented goal scorer, and I am perfectly OK with that,” Donaldson said.
“I always focus on my plus/minus. I always want to do whatever I can so that when I’m on the ice, there’s no goal being scored on us.”
Her introduction to the sport came before she began school.
Donaldson started playing hockey when she was four years old while living in Bathurst, N.B.
“My parents had me in
figure skates and I just hated it,” she recalled.
After seeing hockey on TV, she told her father, Bruce, she wanted to play. Her parents suited her up for a season and she never looked back.
“There’s never been a time, since I was four or five, where I didn’t absolutely love it,” Donaldson said.
She played with boys’ teams growing before moving to St. Catharines, Ont., in Grade 9 to attend prep school at Ridley College.
“I loved it,” she said of her four-year experience. “It was such an amazing experience.”
After graduation she spoke to a few universities before landing back on the Island.
“I just felt ready to come home,” she said. “The fact my dad coaches the UPEI team helped as well.”
During the past five seasons she has seen the lows of losing by 10 goals to the highs of winning a conference championship last season.
“It seems like it’s gone by so fast,” she said.
“I’ve had such a great time and it’s kind of unreal that it’s almost ending.”
While honoured to be asked to be this year’s captain by her teammates, Donaldson was hesitant given her father was the coach.
“The girls made it pretty clear that’s what they wanted,” she said. “I am just really honoured to lead this great group of girls.”
Visser said it was an easy decision, given her teammates’ positive, outgoing approach and leadership qualities.
Donaldson said being approachable is a trait she learned from her father.
The Panthers play twice this weekend against the Mount Allison Mounties.
Today, they are in Sackville, N.B., before hosting the Mounties Sunday at 6 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena.
A pair of victories gets the Panthers back to .500.
“We know we can beat them,” Donaldson said. “They’re a very good team and it’s just going to be who shows up. We’re feeling the pressure, we know what we have to do.”
Resides in: Charlottetown.
Team: UPEI Panthers.
Stats: Two assists in eight games.
UPEI at Mount Allison, 4 p.m.
Mount Allison at UPEI, 6 p.m.
Mount Allison: 0-5-2