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Former Auld’s Cove resident Jennifer MacAskill drafted into CWHL

Jennifer MacAskill in recent exhibition action with the Worcester Blades of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, versus a team from China, which also competes in the league. Contributed
Jennifer MacAskill in recent exhibition action with the Worcester Blades of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, versus a team from China, which also competes in the league. Contributed - Contributed

A Nova, a Laker and now a Blade, MacAskill’s hockey journey continues

PURCHASE, NEW YORK - It has been quite a hockey journey for Jennifer MacAskill. And it continues.

The former Auld’s Cove, Antigonish County resident, who suited up for the major bantam Novas (then called the Jr. X-Men) in their inaugural season of 2010-11, was recently drafted into the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) by the Worcester (Massachusetts) Blades. The Blades relocated from their original home, Boston, at the start of this season.

MacAskill, a forward, will play for the Blades while also holding down an assistant coaching position with the Manhattanville College female hockey program. And as if that wasn’t enough on her plate, she is also obtaining her Masters while at Manhattanville, in sports business management.

“Of course it’s going to be super busy. I have a pretty good relationship with the general manager of the Worcester team, he knows my situation, and he is going to allow me to come to the sessions I can make it to,” MacAskill said, talking to the Casket Oct. 2.

“Obviously, I need to put my job first, but I’m pretty lucky I get to continue playing as well throughout this experience,” she said, talking only about her hockey roles.

 “Our season for Manhattanville doesn’t start until the beginning of November, so I’ll be good to go for upcoming games these next few weeks in October, which is a good chunk of the season, for sure.”

Jennifer MacAskill is an assistant coach with the Manhattanville College female hockey program this season, while also playing for the Worcester (Massachusetts ) Blades of the CWHL. Manhattanville College Athletics
Jennifer MacAskill is an assistant coach with the Manhattanville College female hockey program this season, while also playing for the Worcester (Massachusetts) Blades of the CWHL. Manhattanville College Athletics

In talking about the CWHL, MacAskill noted there is a team from China who competes in the league and they were, at the time, in the midst of a tour.

“They come here and travel around for about a month playing all of the teams,” she said. “We actually played exhibition games against them this past weekend. And then there is a Calgary team, Montreal, and there are two teams in the Toronto area – Markham and Toronto.”

With the Blades, MacAskill will join a former college teammate who was also her roommate, while the two played NCAA Division 1 hockey for the Mercyhurst University Lakers, located in Erie, Pennsylvania.

“She ended up transferring but we were college roommates, so that is a pretty cool experience that we’re reunited again,” she said.

As far as the assistant coach role, MacAskill said being behind the bench has been on her radar.

“I’ve always known I’ve wanted to take this path,” she said.

“I’ve had the experience of coaching summer camps whenever I come home, and this was just a great opportunity to get my foot in the door.

“I eventually want to coach at the Division 1 level but, I think, this is definitely a good start; a Division 3 college and a pretty successful program. It’s, obviously, different being on the other side of things but, I think, it’s pretty cool and definitely something I want to continue doing. It also pairs nicely with my Masters’ degree … it’s a good situation.”

MacAskill talked about the growth of female hockey she has witnessed, since being the lone female player on the local major bantam team.

“When I was growing up, there wasn’t a professional women’s league and now we have so many players who have gone through the process,” she said.

“I think it’s because of the role models they [younger female players] have; Nova Scotia girls like Jill Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull. Because of players like them, who have put in the work, they make it possible for the younger girls growing up.”

She noted the team from China is a great example of female hockey growing globally.

“They’re making great efforts to grow the game there,” she said. “I think it will be really good as the league continues to pick up. They’re doing great things for women’s hockey and it’s because of the role models, who put in the work, that it will continue to grow.”

In recalling her year with the Novas, MacAskill said it was, probably, her best season as far as overall development as a player.

“I also played for Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Games that year,” she said. “It was in Halifax which was awesome for me. It definitely helped to get me where I’m at today.”

Between that season and her time at Mercyhurst (2014-18), were years in Oakville, Ontario.

Jennifer MacAskill celebrating a championship with her Mercyhurst University Lakers teammates. MacAskill played for the Lakers from 2014 to 2018.
Jennifer MacAskill celebrating a championship with her Mercyhurst University Lakers teammates. MacAskill played for the Lakers from 2014 to 2018.

“I was recruited when with Team Atlantic at nationals and while with Team Nova Scotia,” she said of the Oakville program.

“I knew Jill Saulnier had gone there; there were a few East Coasters there at the time, so I was comfortable leaving home and going there, taking the next step.

“That was a pretty cool experience. I had the opportunity to play for Oakville Juniors, a club team there and, with that, I was recruited to play at the college level. It was an awesome experience; I don’t think I could have picked a better place to end up and I have nothing but good things to say about my time, both in Oakville and at Mercyhurst.”

  For those experiences, MacAskill thanked her parents, Kevin and Barb, who have moved from the Auld’s Cove area to just outside of Truro.

“A big thank you to my parents and family,” she said. “It wasn’t easy for them to let their kid leave home at a young age, but if it wasn’t for that, I would not have had the opportunities I have now.”

  

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