That seems to be the approach Jolena Gillard is taking in her aspirations to one day wear the maple leaf for Canada’s women’s hockey team on the Olympic stage.
Gillard has been committed to playing the game at an elite level for a number of years. She has a passion for the game and believes she can take her game to an even higher level.
Gillard said she figured out a long time ago that playing against better players in showcase events is one of the best ways for her to find her way.
The 16-year-old forward has been one of the most promising female hockey players in this province since the female game began picking up steam across the country over the past 10 years.
Earlier this year, Gillard helped the Western Warriors claim a bronze medal at the 2017 Atlantic AAA female midget hockey championship in New Brunswick — scoring seven goals in five games and getting the nod as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
She beams with confidence when it comes to being able to hold her own against the best in her age group and she’s willing to put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to find out where she belongs.
Gillard is about to play in another major event that she hopes will help her get noticed.
Gillard, her 14-year-old sister Sarah, and Becky Reid of Stephenville will suit up for Team Atlantic on the female side at the 2017 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships being staged May 1-6 in Cowichan, B.C.
Jonathan Anderson of Rocky Harbour will make the trek west as a member of Team Atlantic’s male entry in an annual event that provides, not only a competitive hockey environment, but a chance to celebrate cultural unity and pride.
“I’m excited because this is going to be a big tournament and if I play right then my hockey career can go from here,” Gillard said. “I’m hoping to go all the way. I don’t plan on quitting after graduating. I want to go all the way to the Olympic team. That’s where I’m aiming for and I’m willing to work for it.”